Substance Induced Mood Disorders (SIMD) - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

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The exact cause of a substance induced mod disorder is unknown, however people who are susceptible to major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, or dysthymia are more prone to SIMD than the general population. Another risk factor is heredity. A person with a close relative who has an SIMD, depression, bipolar disorder, dysthymia, or who abuses drugs is also more likely to develop a substance induced mood disorder. Women are almost twice as likely to suffer from an SIMD than men.

Signs and Symptoms

A characteristic of substance induced mood disorder that makes it unique from other diagnoses is that the symptoms must first begin in conjunction with drug or alcohol use or during a period of withdrawal. Symptoms that indicate SIMD include a combination of distinct mood changes, loss of interest, depression or mania in concurrence with the use of alcohol, drugs, or medication. It is noted that the prevalence is significantly higher in older people, but this may be due to the number of older people using medications. Another symptom, or deciding factor of SIMD is that it cannot be better described by another non-substance induced disorder.

An individual with SIMD will show symptoms that are often mistaken for other non-substance related disorders. Depression and mania are two of the more common mood disorders that tend to mimic SIMDs. During a depressive state, the patient often refuses or significantly reduces social interactions, shows interest in causing self-harm, and may have suicidal ideation. Often these behaviors alternate with manic behaviors in which the individual becomes extremely hyper, full of energy, irritable, displays risky behaviors, talks faster than usual, seems eccentric in making decisions or shows outrageous behavior.

Additional diagnostic factors include the consideration that numerous characteristics of SIMD mirror behaviors related to the side effects associated with drugs or medications (i.e., anti-depressants and mania). In instances when the information gathered from the affected individual is suspected to be inaccurate, various laboratory tests will also be considered. One test that is frequently performed is a drug test used to determine of the individual is in withdrawal from the use or abuse of alcohol or drugs.


Treatment of individuals diagnosed with substance induced mood disorder varies drastically with the level of severity of symptoms. While some people with minor symptoms might receive outpatient care, those with more significant symptoms frequently need inpatient care where they can receive psychiatric treatment. Indicators that the condition is severe enough for inpatient care are; suicidal ideation or attempts, homicidal thoughts, the inability to care for one’s self, and behaviors indicating self-harm or harm to others.

Discontinuation of the offending substance is usually the most effective treatment, and should terminate symptoms within approximately four weeks. During this time, patients should be monitored closely by friends and family members for signs of SIMD, indications of suicide or self-harm, or other behaviors that might impair the safety of the patient or others. Both inpatients and outpatients tend to receive psychiatric treatment until symptoms cease.


Depression and Mania in Substance-Induced Mood Disorders - https://

National Alliance of Mental Illness - /ContentManagement