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Mood and Anxiety Disorders Are on the Rise

Mood and Anxiety Disorders Are on the Rise

Free Seminar Will Cover Signs, Treatments, and the Stigma Surrounding Them

A mood disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder, is a mental health condition that primarily affects a person’s emotional state. Mood disorders can cause extreme happiness, sadness, or a combination of both. They range from mild to a complete inability to function. When untreated, mood disorders can lead to substance abuse, promiscuity, self-harm, or even suicide. Though common, mood disorders often go undiagnosed, and therefore untreated. This is in part, because of the stigma associated with them.

You are invited to learn more about mood disorders and the stigma surrounding them during a free, online community seminar. On Wednesday., March 22, at 12 p.m. Washington Township Medical Foundation psychiatrist Neeru Kumar, MD, will present “Mood and Anxiety Disorders: Breaking the Stigma.” To watch live on Facebook, sign in to your account, then go to Or you can watch it without an account by going to Washington Hospital’s InHealth YouTube Channel at

Stigma surrounding mood disorders comes from people seeing those with mental illness in a negative way. According to Dr. Kumar, “Stigmatization of mood disorders is complex and comes in many forms. Parents of children with signs of mood disorders may be in denial that their child needs professional help or they may mistake the symptoms for laziness. People with these disorders may feel self-stigma or shame, thinking the illness is their fault, which can further increase depression and act as a barrier to recovery.”

Mood Disorders: Signs and Treatments

Mood disorders are more common than people may think. By the age of 18, more than 14% of adolescents will have experienced a mood disorder and nearly 10% of adults have had one in the past year. Even before the pandemic, mental health challenges facing young people was a growing concern. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the numbers of adolescents screening positive for depression and suicide risk have increased, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Low mood and lack of interest in doing things are just two of the 16 common signs of depression in young adults,” explains Dr. Kumar. Other symptoms include dropping grades, social withdrawal, and self-harm, such as cutting or burning one’s self.

Treatments for mood disorders depend on the specific condition and symptoms. Usually treatment involves a combination of antidepressant or mood-stabilizing medications and psychotherapy, also called talk therapy. Dr. Kumar will be speaking more in depth about the different types of mood disorders, their signs and symptoms, and ways they are treated in the free online seminar.

Every three years, Washington Hospital conducts a comprehensive community health needs assessment. The purpose of the study is to identify the most critical physical and mental health issues local residents are facing, so the Hospital can tailor their services and education programs to improve the health of the community. The most recent study found that behavioral health is a top health need in the community, with depression and stress as the most common issues raised in interviews and focus groups. Dr. Kumar’s March 22 seminar is in direct response to the community’s concern and need about mental health issues.

Dr. Kumar is a board-certified psychiatrist with more than 25 years of experience treating adults with mood disorders and other psychiatric conditions. “What I have learned over the years is that when one member of a family is suffering from mental illness, it can have an adverse effect on the mental health of the rest of the family,” she explained. “Helping one patient can strengthen marriages, relations between parents and children, and other family dynamics.”

To learn more about Dr. Kumar, go to: 

To find out more about our Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, visit:

Online education and support for those with mental illness and their caregivers is available from the National Association of Mental Illness at If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, call 988 for the U.S. Suicide & Crisis Lifeline where experts are available to help 24/7.