Answers FAQ

Moods FAQs

Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Take the Moods Quiz First! Before reading this FAQ, challenge yourself and
Test your Knowledge!

Q:Certain things you eat or drink can affect your mood. True or false?

A:True.

Foods can impact mood in many ways. For example, in the case of the well-known "sugar high," a sugary snack can elevate the mood and raise energy, only to have energy levels and mood drop dramatically as the body produces insulin to lower the amount of glucose in the blood.

Certain foods have been shown in scientific studies to elevate mood, including complex carbohydrates, chocolate, and protein. Chocolate, for example, can affect dopamine levels in the brain, enhancing mood. Protein can slow down the metabolism of sugars and lead to a stabilization of mood and avoidance of the up-and-down effect on mood often seen after sugar consumption.

back to top ↑

Q:What are the most common mood disorders?

A:Depression, bipolar disorder, self-harm, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are the most common mood disorders.

Over 20 million people in the U.S. are thought to suffer from depression, which is a disturbance in mood significant enough to interfere with daily life and functioning.

back to top ↑

Q:What is serotonin?

A:Serotonin is a neurotransmitter.

A neurotransmitter is a substance that is used in the communication among nerves, and is found in the brain, pineal gland and in blood platelets. In addition to its role as a neurotransmitter, serotonin also acts to cause constriction of blood vessels. Low levels of serotonin in the brain may be related to the development of depression.

Many antidepressant drugs, including fluoxetine (Prozac®) and sertraline (Zoloft®) belong to the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs act by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.

back to top ↑

Q:What mood disorder is also known as manic depression?

A:Bipolar disorder is sometimes referred to as manic depressive illness (manic depression).

People with this condition have intense emotional states ranging from overly joyful or elated to hopeless and depressed. These are known as manic or depressive episodes, respectively. Bipolar disorder can cause serious symptoms that are far more dramatic than the typical ups and downs of daily life.

back to top ↑

Q:What chemicals in the body can relieve pain and give a feeling of well-being?

A:Endorphins.

Endorphins are small proteins made in the body that bind to the opioid receptors in the central nervous system, relieving pain and causing a sense of well-being.

back to top ↑

Q:Moods are contagious. True or false?

A:True.

It's definitely possible to "catch" a good or bad mood from loved ones or those around you. Managing your moods is always a balancing act between the emotional ups and downs. Sometimes, moods are governed by factors beyond our control, so it is not realistic to expect to always be able to maintain a positive mood.

back to top ↑

Q:What is the almond-shaped part of the temporal lobe that's associated with emotion?

A: The amygdala (uh-MIG-duh-luh) is a part of the brain that is involved with regulation of emotions, motivation, and fear.

This area of the central nervous system is thought to be involved in learned responses controlling whether or not you fear or do not fear a specific trigger. Researchers studying the function of the amygdala may discover valuable information that might help improve treatments for emotional disorders.

back to top ↑

Q:What is the optimal temperature suitable for mood for most Americans?

A: Room temperature (around 72 degrees Fahrenheit) is the optimal temperature for mood for most people, according to researchers.

Mood decreased as the temperature fell below or climbed above this level. However, in certain geographic areas, mood peaks at different temperatures. In Michigan, moods were highest at 65 degrees and in Texas, 86 degrees was the optimal temperature for mood.

back to top ↑

Q:If you live in an industrialized country, how much time are you likely to spend indoors?

A:People in industrialized countries spend about 93% of their time indoors, on average.

This means they are less connected to the effects of weather on mood. Making an effort to enjoy warm, sunny weather can elevate mood for those confined indoors.

back to top ↑

Q:What can reduces stress, lower blood pressure, and improve mood?

A:Whether looking at trees or strolling through the woods, exposure to trees has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and elevate mood.

Even looking at pictures of trees has some of these effects. Studies of hospital patients have shown "green" views speed recovery from surgery, reduce painkiller use, and minimize surgical complications.

back to top ↑
© 1996-2017 MedicineNet, Inc. All rights reserved.
Source quiz on MedicineNet