What’s the outlook for people with mood disorders?

Mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder may recur or be ongoing and therefore may require long-term or lifetime treatment. It is important to take your medications as prescribed. After starting your medications, it may take two to six weeks before you begin to notice a change in your symptoms. Do not stop taking your medication, even if you begin to feel better.

Discuss any concerns you have about changing or stopping medications with your doctor or another health professional. Ask your doctor whether you might need to try a different medication or have the dosage adjusted, if the one you are taking is ineffective or causes unpleasant side effects such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Psychotherapy has been shown to be helpful treatment approach and is often used together with medication or brain stimulation therapy. Minor forms of depression can be treated with psychotherapy alone. Brain stimulation therapies are usually tried when other treatment options have not been successful, in people with severe symptoms, and in those who cannot tolerate the side effects of drug therapy. Every therapy has its potential role, as each patient with a mood disorder is unique.

Seek help immediately if you feel suicidal or have thoughts of harming yourself or others.

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