Treating Mood Disorders

Alta Mira’s staff understands the complexities of mood disorders, including Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and co-occurring conditions, and the impact they can have on every aspect of your life.

Our team, led by a licensed clinical psychologist with 25 years of experience assisting clients and families with substance abuse and other mental health disorders, consists of a team of three psychiatrists and an internal medicine provider who are Board Certified in Addiction Medicine. Alta Mira’s dedicated providers also include mental health therapists, nurses, trauma specialists, holistic care providers, and others to ensure that we are able to address concerns from multiple perspectives.

Our rigorous approach to care combines neuropsychological testing, evidence-based therapies, and a personalized approach that includes three individual therapy sessions each week to help you find lasting healing and regain control of your life.

Understanding Mood Disorders

Mood disorders often occur alongside (or even predate) substance abuse and can significantly disrupt daily life, relationships, and overall well-being. These co-occurring disorders are not just a matter of feeling sad or worried; they are serious medical conditions that require comprehensive treatment.

Common mood disorders include:

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): Characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest or pleasure in activities, along with other symptoms such as changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, and fatigue.
  • Bipolar Disorder: Formerly known as manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder involves alternating episodes of depression and mania or hypomania. Manic episodes are characterized by elevated mood, increased energy, and impulsive behavior, while depressive episodes mirror those of major depressive disorder.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia): A chronic form of depression lasting for two years or more, characterized by milder but long-lasting symptoms of depression that may not meet the criteria for major depressive disorder.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: A milder form of bipolar disorder characterized by chronic mood instability involving numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms that do not meet the criteria for a major depressive episode.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): A severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) characterized by significant mood disturbances, such as irritability, sadness, or anxiety, in the days leading up to menstruation.
  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD): A mood disorder diagnosed in children and adolescents characterized by severe temper outbursts that are out of proportion to the situation and occur frequently.
  • Substance/Medication-Induced Mood Disorder: Mood disturbances caused by the use of substances such as drugs, alcohol, or medications, which may manifest as depressive or manic symptoms.
  • Mood Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition: Mood disturbances resulting from a medical condition or neurological disorder, such as thyroid disorders, neurological conditions, or chronic illnesses.
  • Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood: Depressive symptoms that occur in response to a stressful life event, such as a major life change, loss, or trauma, and persist for a limited period after the event has occurred.
  • Other Specified and Unspecified Depressive Disorders: Mood disorders that do not meet the specific criteria for other mood disorders but still cause significant distress or impairment in daily functioning.

It’s important to note that mood disorders can vary widely in severity, duration, and presentation, and accurate diagnosis and treatment—especially when substances are involved—are essential for effective management. If you suspect you or someone you know may be experiencing symptoms of a mood disorder, seeking professional help from a mental health provider is recommended.

Our Approach to Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

We believe in treating the whole person, addressing the underlying factors contributing to mood disorders, and empowering individuals to make positive changes in their lives. Our treatment approach is tailored to meet each individual’s unique needs and includes:

  1. Initial Assessment: Care begins with thorough medical and psychiatric assessments. Our providers consult with the client’s regular psychiatrist and reviews records from prior treatment programs and providers.
  2. Historical Review and Consolidation: We obtain as much information as possible for our physicians to review (including previous medical and psychiatric records). Our clients often come to us having seen many separate providers and need someone to put it all together in one place. In most cases, a new set of labs is ordered, which provides important baseline information as we track clients’ physical recovery and prepare them to return to their outpatient-level providers.
  3. Consultation With Current/Past Providers: Upon assessment and history, we confer with clients’ current or previous providers, collaborating on the treatment plan to ensure a fully integrated approach that addresses individual needs and sets the stage for a smooth transition upon discharge from our program.
  4. Additional Testing and Referrals: When necessary, our physicians will order and interpret genetic testing, utilizing objective data to help determine which medication(s) are best based on each client’s unique physiology. We may also refer out for Interventional Psychiatry treatments as indicated, such as TMS, as well as specialists in focused fields including physical therapy, orthopedics, neurology, hematology otorhinolaryngology, and more.
  5. Evidence-Based Therapies: Our treatment plans incorporate evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), EMDR, Somatic Experiencing, mindfulness-based therapy, expressive arts therapy and experiential therapies to address the root causes of mood disorders and develop healthy coping strategies.
  6. Three Individual Therapy Sessions Per Week: We know that individualized care is important, which is why we offer three one-on-one sessions with your primary therapist every week. This ensures you have a private space to discuss issues that are personal to you.
  7. Medication Management: For individuals who may benefit from medication, our psychiatrist team provides personalized medication management to optimize treatment outcomes and minimize side effects.
  8. Holistic Approaches: We recognize the importance of addressing the mind, body, and spirit in the healing process. Our holistic approach may include yoga, meditation, nutrition counseling, acupuncture, sound baths, exercise therapy, and other wellness activities to promote overall well-being.
  9. Family Support: We understand that mood disorders can impact not only the individual but also their loved ones. Our family support services include a 3-Day Family Program and contact with family members during treatment (as appropriate and desired). Alta Mira’s team is here to help families understand and navigate the challenges of living with co-occurring mood and substance use disorders.
  10. Continuing Care Planning: Recovery is a lifelong journey, and we provide comprehensive ongoing care planning to support individuals as they transition back to their daily lives. This may include ongoing therapy, support groups, outpatient programs, and referrals to community resources.

Take the First Step Towards Healing

If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use and a co-occurring mood disorder, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment program and start your journey towards healing and recovery at Alta Mira.