Substance-Induced Mood Disorder

A substance-induced mood disorder is when changing or stopping a drug causes mood changes for an extended period of time. Many drugs (prescribed and not prescribed) change the way brain cells communicate with each other. They can also change the amounts of chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in your nervous system. Having the right balance of these chemical messengers in your body is imperative for an individual to sustain a good mood. Two important neurotransmitters are dopamine and serotonin. Too little or too much of these chemicals can cause mood problems to occur. Many drugs and medicines change how dopamine and serotonin work. This can upset the balance of these chemicals.

Drugs and medicines that can cause mood problems while you are using them are:

  • Amphetamines such as speed, Ritalin, and Dexedrine
  • Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)
  • Heart and high blood pressure medicines
  • Inhalants such as gasoline and spray paint
  • Anti-anxiety medicines such as clonazepam
  • Drugs that can cause mood problems while you use them and during withdrawal are:
  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Hallucinogens such as LSD and hallucinogenic mushrooms
  • Marijuana
  • Sedatives and anti-anxiety medicines such as diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), and alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Narcotics such as heroin, and pain medicines such as morphine, codeine, Percocet, and tramadol (Ultram)
  • Steroid medicines

Diagnosis of Substance-Induced Mood Disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is as follows:

A. A person has a significant disturbance in mood that includes either (or both):

Depressed mood or significantly reduced level of interest or pleasure in most or all activities.

A mood that is euphoric, heightened, or irritable.

B. The person’s symptoms develop during (or within four weeks of) intoxication or withdrawal, or are caused by medication use.

C. Another disorder does not better explain the mood disturbance.

D. The mood condition is not present only when a person is delirious.

E. The symptoms are a cause of great distress or difficulty in functioning at home, work, or other important areas.

Interestingly enough, the Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) studies found that nearly 40% of people with an alcohol disorder also fulfilled criteria for a psychiatric disorder; among people with other drug disorders, more than half reported symptoms of a psychiatric disorder.

In many cases, treatment begins with a medical evaluation and a medically supervised detoxification from the substance. Psychotherapy is used to help the individual recover from any possible addiction, while also helping them develop appropriate coping skills.

If you or a loved one in your life is suffering from a mood disorder or exhibits symptoms that prevent them from living a healthy, productive life, it may be time to seek treatment from a professional mental health center.

Feinberg Consulting is able to offer intervention services and ongoing recovery support. The process of recovery is a life-long commitment. We can help your family find a new future. Call us at 877.538.5425 for more information.

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