Back to homepage

Mood Disorders: Is Your Child Burdened with One?


Mood Disorders: Is Your Child Burdened with One?


It is normal for a child to exhibit sudden changes in mood or behavior. These changes are not something for parents to be alarmed about, especially if there’s a reason behind them. For example, a child may become unsociable because of a sad experience, or suddenly turn jubilant because he or she is given a new toy.

However, if your child has persistent, intense, alternating cycles of positive and negative moods without an apparent trigger, he or she may have a mood disorder. Mood disorders among children manifest as a shift in mood, ranging from consistent low mood, as in depression, to cycling low and high moods, as in bipolar disorder.


Prevalence of Mood Disorders in Children

Emotional health issues such as depression and bipolar disorder are common in children and adolescents. Any change in mood can shape your child’s emotional state. A mood condition is unlike the typical bad moods children occasionally feel: the intense thoughts and feelings are persistent and difficult to manage. It is not something a child will get over in the next development stage. A mood condition is a real medical disorder.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) cites the statistics derived from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), suggesting that 3.7 percent of children aged 8 to 15 years old have a mood disorder. They are more prevalent among girls and older children. Recent studies revealed that as many as 15 to 18 percent of youngsters have experienced a mood episode before the age of 18.

It appears that many forms of mood conditions are very common before adulthood, and clinicians and researchers believe they are among the most underdiagnosed health concerns. Children with undiagnosed mood conditions are at risk for other health issues, such as disruptive behavior and substance abuse. Due to the different symptoms manifested in children and teens with mood disorders, it can be difficult for parents to determine whether it is time to seek intervention for their child.


Possible Causes of Mood Disorders

There are many factors suspected to cause mood conditions. They may have a genetic component: if depression or bipolar disorder runs in the family, children are at increased risk for developing it. They may also be caused by environmental factors, such as a major life change or a chronically overwhelming lifestyle.


Red Flags to Watch Out For

In the case of children, it can be doubly difficult to know the exact diagnosis, since a child’s brain is still in the process of development. Pediatricians and other health providers look for symptoms that can be considered red flags of psychiatric distress. Although symptoms may vary according to age and biological makeup, the early signs of a mood disorder can include the following:

  • Persistent and frequent mood changes, from sad to angry, depressed, irritable, and elevated moods
  • Acting out in multiple domains, such as home and school
  • Lack of interest in or motivation toward pleasurable activities
  • Significant change in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Frequent complaints of physical pain, such as headaches, dizziness, or stomachaches
  • Lethargy
  • Dramatic drop in school performance
  • Feeling of worthlessness or low self-esteem
  • High level of energy with racing thoughts or rapid speed
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Engaging in rebellious or risky behavior
  • Self-harming tendencies, which need immediate evaluation

Recognizing these warning signs is the cornerstone of successful treatment and preventing future episodes.


Getting Help to Unburden Your Child

If you suspect your child is showing the symptoms of a mood disorder, it is imperative to get an accurate diagnosis as the first step toward managing the health issue effectively. Mood conditions are treatable, especially with early and appropriate action. Proper treatment can help reduce the severity of symptoms, improving the quality of your child’s life and relationships with others.

Mood disorders cannot be outgrown. It takes intervention or support from a professional who can provide an accurate diagnosis and the right treatment to effectively manage the disorder. At Carolina Counseling Services – Fuquay-Varina, NC, there are independently contracted counselors who specialize in diagnosing and treating the full range of mood conditions in children. They are committed to leading children with mood conditions to long-term success, and can offer a personalized plan for your child based on the latest therapeutic approaches. Just call to request an appointment.


We can Help! Call NOW!


Related Articles:

Confidential / Private Sessions

Carolina Counseling Services – Fuquay-Varina, NC contracts with Licensed professional counselors/therapists/psychologists that provide a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Carolina Counseling Services – Fuquay-Varina, NC contracts with friendly, caring therapists who assist adult individuals, couples, families, and children with resolving issues and getting back to enjoying their lives. Whether you are non-military or military, it will always been a pleasure to work with you. CCS and the independently contracted therapists are able and happy to assist active duty dependents and retired military and their families.

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Fuquay-Varina, NC

Counties: Wake County NC

Cities: Fuquay-Varina NC, Holly Springs NC, Angier NC, Duncan NC, Chalybeate Springs NC, Feltonville NC, Garner NC, Kennebec NC, Willow Springs NC, Cokesbury NC, Holland NC, Wilbon NC, Apex NC

Zip Codes: 27501, 27502, 27523, 27526, 27529, 27539, 27540, 27592

We are located at:

Carolina Counseling Services - Fuquay-Varina, NC
602 E. Academy St. Ste. 103
Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526

(919) 887-1100

602 E. Academy St. Suite 102

Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526

Our Mailing Address:

PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

How Do I Set Up my FIRST Appointment?

  • Call: (919) 887-1100 (Fastest way to schedule)
  • Text: (910) 308-3291 (Reply will be via phone)
  • Click here and use our Contact Form (You must include your phone number, because replies will only be made by telephone to ensure security/privacy)
  • Call or Text for your New Patient Appointment Anytime!
  • Appointment scheduling for NEW clients: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:15pm
  • New client appts may be scheduled when therapists have openings, which may include daytime, evenings and weekends.
  • Established/Standing Appointments are made directly with your therapist!
  • Referrals: MOST beneficiaries do NOT need a Referral!

View the independently contracted, Caring, Licensed Therapists. Who is the Best Fit for you?

  • Kimberly Tran, PhD, HSP-P

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Individuals, Couples, anxiety, PTSD, trauma (adults who have experienced childhood physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse, Wounded Warrior) grief and loss, relationship issues, addiction, recovery, co-occuring substance abuse, couple/marital concerns, personality disorders, mood disorders.
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare (to include Tricare Prime), Medicare and cash
    Location: Fuquay-Varina, NC

  • Laura Coyle, PhD, HSP-P

    Specializes in: (Ages 3+) Children, Adolescents, Couples, Individuals, Family, anxiety, persistent sadness and depression, mood swings, responses to trauma, grief, behavioral concerns, autism spectrum disorders, attention difficulties, excessive procrastination, challenges related to physical health concerns, relational conflicts, problematic alcohol or drug use, problematic eating patterns, communication difficulties, Affirmative and Multiculturally Competent Counseling, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare (to include Tricare Prime) Medicare and cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fuquay-Varina, NC

  • Teshia Utley-McKoy, MS, LPC

    Specializes in: (Ages 4+) Children, Adolescents, Individuals, Marriage and Couples counseling, Anxiety issues, Parent-child relational issues, Spirituality, Behavior Management, ADHD, ODD, PTSD Trauma, Self-Esteem, Depression, Grief and Loss, Adjustment and Transitional Issues, Coping Skills, Christian counseling.
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare (to include Tricare Prime), HSA/FSA and cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fuquay-Varina, NC

  • Rachel Macko, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Adults, Individuals, Anxiety, Panic Disorder, OCD, Depression, Mood Disorders, PTSD, Trauma, Acute Stress Disorder, Chronic Pain/Health Concerns, Grief and Loss, Adjustment/Transitional Issues, Coping issues, Sleep Issues, Communication issues. Mindfulness Training and EMDR are available.
    Insurance: BCBS, Medicare, Tricare Prime/Select, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fuquay-Varina, NC
  • Sherry Horowitz, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 10+) Children, Adolescents/Teens, Adults, Individuals, Couples, Families, Communication Skills, Mood Disorders, Adjustment Disorders, ADHD, Couples/Marriage Counseling, Grief and Loss, Parenting Issues, Panic Attacks, Issues Related to Military Families, Self-Esteem, Sleep Issues, Positive Behavior Modification, Eating Disorders, Anxiety or Fears, Depression, Self-esteem, Body Image Issues, Grief and loss, ADHD in girls and women
    Insurance: BCBS, Medicare, Tricare, HSA/FSA and cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fuquay-Varina, NC
  • Aisha Alston, MA, LPC

    Specializes in: (Ages 8+) Children, Adolescents, Teens, Adults, Families, Couples, Communication Issues, Parenting Issues, Mood Disorders, Thought Disorders, Anxiety, Depression, Panic Attacks, Relationship Issues, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Conflict Issues, Grief/Loss, Adjustment Disorder, LGBT, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Conduct disorder
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fuquay-Varina, NC