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Mood Disorder

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 What Is A Mood Disorder?

All children and adolescents experience emotions and express them through their mood.  A Mood Disorder is a medical condition that occurs when a child’s emotions are persistent and consistent and affect their ability to function. Children and adolescents with Mood Disorders may struggle to manage their emotions, and complete daily tasks.  Mood disorders can occur because of biological, genetic or environmental factors. Children with Mood Disorders are more likely to be affected by depression or anxiety as adults. 

What Can You Look For As A Parent?

Mood Disorders look different at different ages. 

A younger child with a Mood Disorder may be consistently irritable or angry with frequent overreactions, outbursts and  tantrums. The child’s irritability can be present at home, in school and during other activities. 

A teenager or preteen with a Mood Disorder may be irritable, with low self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness or helplessness. They might not be interested in activities they used to enjoy, or they might have less energy. A teenager or pre-teen with a Mood Disorder might talk badly about themselves or talk about hurting themselves. They might feel physical symptoms like headaches, and stomach aches or have a change in appetite and sleep patterns. 

What Can You Do If There Is A Concern? 

For younger children: Observe your child’s emotions and mood. Keeping a log of outbursts or tantrums is helpful in identifying a pattern. Talk to your child’s teacher to see if there are difficulties with behavior, energy or mood at school. Talk to your pediatrician about patterns you have observed. A medical evaluation can help determine if your child’s mood is a result of a Mood Disorder or other causes.  

For teenagers and preteens: A medical evaluation would allow a doctor to determine the cause for your child’s mood. A log or journal will help your child to recognize, identify, and describe their symptoms to a doctor and/or therapist who can help.  You should seek medical support immediately if you have any concerns that your child may harm themselves. 

The Sutcliffe Clinic Services For Mood Disorders

  • Psychological Testing

    To look deeper into mood regulations and other challenges that might be associated with your child’s mood.
  • Individual and Family Therapy

    To address your concerns as a parent and to offer tools to help your child manage their emotions
  • Medical Wellness

    To determine how your child’s sleep, exercise and nutritional habits affect their mood and to learn how treatment options such as diet changes, increased exercise, mindfulness, and acupuncture can help. If symptoms persist, medication may help address your child’s mood.