When you think of mood disorders, depression and bipolar disorder likely come to mind first. That's because these are common, severe illnesses and leading causes of disability. Depression and bipolar disorder can be emotionally crippling, making it difficult to live life to its fullest. What you may not know is that two milder versions of these mood disorders can also take a toll, and can go undiagnosed. These are called dysthymic disorder and cyclothymic disorder.
"The presence of anxiety, of a depressive mood or of a conflict within the mind, does not stamp any individual as having a psychological problem because, as a matter of fact, these qualities are indigenous to the species," says Charles Goodstein, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at NYU Medical Center in New York City.
But if living on the "last straw" has more or less become your way of life, experts say there's something on your mind that is crying out for your attention.
"The key is how often you are feeling this sense of distress, how bad it gets, and how long it lasts; that is what can help determine the seriousness of your situation," says Abby Aronowitz, PhD, the director of SelfHelpDirectives.com.
To help you gain some important perspective on the problems in your life, three experts helped WebMD put together this list of symptoms you should not ignore. If any of these signs seem true for you, speak to your family doctor and request a complete physical. If everything checks out OK, ask your doctor if you might benefit from professional counseling.