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September 01, 2009 | By Jared Tanner, MS 

Emotional or mood problems are more frequent in people with disabilities (of any severity or duration) than in the general population. Rates range from about 20% to 50%, depending on the study and the population – from spinal cord injury to multiple sclerosis to stroke. It is important to understand the rates and types of mood disorders because the functional deficits associated with disability (I’m using disability to refer to any sort of loss of function, even if it is only temporary) can manifest similarly to mood disorder symptoms. For example, what might look like anhedonia could simply be inability to do much, or at least the reticence to be active because of pain or functional loss.

While clinicians might accurately understand the difference between physical disability and anhedonia or any number of mood disorder symptoms, patients might not understand that difference, especially as they fill out questionnaires, which are open to the subjectivity of personal interpretation. In other words, a patient might endorse symptoms related to their injury as mood-related, even if the symptoms are not. Clinicians need to take care in order to not over-diagnose mood disorders. On the other hand, depression is common but not inevitable in people with disabilities. This means that while some of the disabling conditions might manifest similarly to symptoms of depression, for example, it is important to not minimize or miss any symptoms of a mood disorder. That’s the catch-22 of mood disorders and disability.

Read Article in Full:  http://brainblogger.com/2009/09/01/mood-and-functional-disability-a-positive-feedback-loop/

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