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Mood and Addictive Disorders in Psychology Essay

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Updated: May 16th, 2020


The purpose of this essay is to explore mood and addictive disorders. Mood disorders reflect disruptions that affect individuals’ normal abilities to cope with traumas, stressors, everyday activities, and relationships, among others because they impair physical, emotional, and social well-being. While the exact causes of these disorders remain poorly understood, it is believed that they result from genetic, environmental, and social factors. A link exists between mood disorders and addiction. In most cases, individuals battling mood disorders must also fight other disorders such as eating, alcoholism, and substance abuse because these disorders co-exist. These disorders are treatable, and effective treatments require addressing all disorders.

Potential causes of depressive, bipolar, and substance disorders

Depression may result from various factors, including social, biological, and psychological factors. Certain biological causes have been identified as a family history of depression, hormonal imbalances, use of some predisposing medications, and abnormal brain formation. Psychological factors may include any experiences from traumatic events, poor coping abilities, and low self-esteem. Social factors responsible for depressive disorders may include child abuse, isolation, broken family relations, traumatic events, and a lack of support. In addition, depressive disorders have also been associated with a certain co-occurring disorder, including substance abuse or eating disorders. Depression is one of the most complex mental health problems. It can result in adverse health outcomes if not treated (Barlow, 2005).

One main cause of the bipolar disorder has been identified as certain brain pathways abnormalities and disparity in dopamine, neurotransmitters serotonin, and noradrenalin (Barlow, 2005). Bipolar is a genetic condition and therefore, can be passed from one member of the family to another. In addition, environmental influences could also lead to the development of the bipolar disorder. Likewise, one’s social environment may interact with genetic disposition factors and trigger bipolar disorder.

Further, it has been observed that other life experiences and personal relationships may also be responsible for the onset of bipolar disorders. In cases of adults with bipolar disorder, it has been established that abuse and/or traumatic events during childhood are displayed later in life. Further, other co-occurring (comorbid) mood disorders such as eating, ADH, and OCD may also be responsible for bipolar disorder, as well as drug and alcohol abuse.

Substance disorder has always been associated with alcohol. However, other substances could also display similar effects. Nevertheless, no single cause has been identified for substance disorder, and thus several factors could be responsible. Social factors such as tolerance of alcohol and other drugs in communities could lead to the disorder. Social factors, including low levels of education, incomes, and divorce, have been attributed to substance disorder. Genetic predisposition is also responsible for the disorder. Other factors, such as alcohol sensitivity and learning habits of alcoholism, can also contribute to substance disorder. People engaged in self-medication with substances due to mental issues could also develop substance disorder.

Treatment methods for depressive, bipolar, and substance disorders

The major main treatments for depressive disorder include pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, and supportive measures. For pharmacotherapy intervention, antidepressants, the so-called lithium augmentation, neuroleptics, and benzodiazepines, among others, have been used to treat depressive disorders. The treatment should be successful and supported by patient education and decision-making (Bschor & Adli, 2008). It is imperative to note that the effects of antidepressants may vary, and they can only be evaluated after some weeks in treatment.

Psychotherapeutic modalities for treating depressive disorder include resource activation (identifies and reinforces existing strengths), problem actualization (focuses on specific areas of conflicts), problem coping (all forms of supports given to patients) and motivational clarification (recognizes dysfunctional behaviors, perceptions, and cognitive activities) (Bschor & Adli, 2008).

Supportive measures involve the role of the family in supporting the patient. In addition, sleep deprivation treatment may also be used to enhance outcomes in patients.

It is noted that bipolar disorder has no known cure (Sachs & Thase, 2000). Nevertheless, it can be managed effectively for long using proper treatment approaches. In most cases, treatments aim to control mood swings and other related conditions (Sachs & Thase, 2000). Bipolar is a lifelong condition and thus, it is imperative for patients to have continuous interventions to control adverse effects. Medications have been noted to work well. Medications used for treatment generally include mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics, and antidepressants” (Sachs & Thase, 2000, p. 573).

Psychotherapy is also an effective treatment approach for bipolar disorder. It is however done in combination with medications to enhance outcomes. The major focus of psychotherapy is to provide education, support and guidance to patients and their families or caregivers. Some psychotherapeutic techniques include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), family-focused therapy, interpersonal and social rhythm therapy and psychoeducation. In addition, shock therapy or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), sleep medications and herbal supplements may also be used.

Treatments for substance abuse disorder vary and they include medications such as acamprosate, naltrexone and disulfiram. In addition, various forms of other treatments such as counseling, peer support, case management, intensive or inpatient patient treatment are also recommended. It is noteworthy that treatments may vary depending on the condition, and patients may not necessarily access all known treatment options. Nevertheless, a combination of interventions may yield effective outcomes.

Any Potential gender and cultural influences on depressive, bipolar and substance disorders

Studies have established that depressive disorders are generally more profound in women relative to men across different cultures (Goodwin & Gotlib, 2004). It is however imperative to note that depressive disorders vary significantly across cultures. According to Goodwin and Gotlib (2004), from a psychological point of view, two factors have been identified as responsible for gender variations in depression, namely interpersonal orientation and rumination. Such studies have depicted that higher rates of these factors in women are related to higher rates of depression. In addition, cultural factors such as poor living conditions, low levels of education and poverty significantly contribute to high rates of depression.

The influence of ethnicity and cultural groups on bipolar disorder could be interesting for researchers. Individuals may have a similar bipolar disorder across various cultures. In fact, the proportion could even be the same in similar cultures spread across the world. What is actually striking in this sense is that bipolar disorder varies across different cultures even if the population of study consists of immigrants. They generally tend to reflect associations with their ancestors left behind. In addition, their children will tend to develop similar conditions, and they could even have severe cases relative to their folks. From this observation, one can conclude that bipolar disorder may be severe in children because of loss of advantages associated with being a constituent of an extended family while different cultural experiences may result in adverse cases.

It is generally noted that the rate of substance abuse and dependence is higher in men relative to women (Brady & Randall, 1999). The diagnosis of substance abuse however is not gender specific and does not conform to the expected outcome of higher rates in men. Of importance is that women have a significantly higher rate of co-occurring psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety relative to men, which are related to substance abuse. Specifically, women may use certain substances for self-medication involving mood disorders. Men, however, may use such substances for other reasons. Concerning treatment, women may experience challenges because of these co-occurring disorders.

Substance abuse may also vary across cultures. The outcomes are normally reflected in co-occurring disorders (University of Texas, 2005). For instance, Native Americans may be prone to adverse effects of alcohol abuse relative to their White counterparts. Still, these rates may also differ among White Americans. Therefore, considerable differences exist among and within cultures and ethnic groups with regard to substance abuse disorders.


The purpose of this essay was to explore mood and addictive disorders. It shows that mood and addictive disorders may be co-occurring disorders. Therefore, treating one condition requires other co-occurring disorders to be treated too. These disorders have certain predisposing factors, which are generally genetic, environment and social. In addition, other extreme social experiences such as traumatic events and divorce may cause some of these conditions.

Treatments for mood and addictive disorders vary, but studies show that medications, psychotherapy and supportive measures can help patients to manage their conditions. Bipolar disorder, however, lacks any known cure. Thus, treatments are normally long-term. A combination of treatments could yield favorable outcomes.

Women are more prone to mood and addictive disorders relative to their male counterparts while cultural differences have been noted among and within cultural and ethnic compositions.


Barlow, D. H. (2005). Abnormal psychology: An integrative approach (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. Web.

Brady, K. T., & Randall, C. L. (1999). Gender differences in substance use disorders. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 22(2), 241-52. Web.

Bschor, T., & Adli, M. (2008). Treatment of Depressive Disorders. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 105(45), 782–792. Web.

Goodwin, R. D., & Gotlib, I. H. (2004). Gender differences in depression: the role of personality factors. Psychiatry Research, 126, 135–142. Web.

Sachs, G. S., & Thase, M. E. (2000). Bipolar disorder therapeutics: maintenance treatment. Biological Psychiatry, 48(6), 573–581. Web.

University of Texas. (2005). Ethnicity, Culture, and Substance Use Disorders. Web.

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