Mood disorders (also called affective disorders) are a group of mental disorders whereby the prevailing emotional mood of a person is distorted or inappropriate to the circumstances. People who suffer from a mood disorder may suffer from constant or interspersed intensified moods. A person's mood generally means their emotional state or the general tone of their feelings. Examples of commonly experienced moods include: sadness, happiness, anger, irritability, depression, mania, hypomania, euphoria, dysphoria or elation. Mood disorders are commonly understood in terms of different types of mood episodes that are experienced.
Mood disorders are described by the DSM by outlining the following types mood episodes:
- Major depressive episode - depressed mood of loss of interest in nearly all activities
- Manic episode - an abnormally elevated or irritable mood possibly with exaggerated feelings of confidence or happiness that severely affects a person's daily functioning
- Mixed episode - rapidly alternating moods including symptoms from both a major depressive episode and a manic episode
- Hypomanic episode - similar to a manic episode, but without negatively affecting a person's daily functioning
The DSM describes a few mood disorders that people may experience, including the following:
Depressive (or unipolar) disorders
- Major depressive disorder - having a single or recurring major depressive episode without any other type of episode
- Dysthymic disorder (or Dysthymia) - feeling chronically depressed over a long period of time (more than a year)
- Depressive disorder NOS - can include Premenstrual dysphoric disorder and other mood disorders that involve a depressed mood
- Bipolar I disorder - having at least one manic episode or mixed episode and can possibly include other episodes as well
- Bipolar II disorder - having had both a major depressive episode and a hypomanic episode without any other type of episode
- Cyclothymic disorder (or Cyclothymia) - having regular mood fluctuations including depressed mood (not a major episode) and hypomanic episodes
- Bipolar disorder NOS - any other mood disorder that involves mood fluctuation
Other mood disorders
- Mood disorder due to a general medical condition - a mood disorder caused by a medical condition
- Substance-induced mood disorder - a mood disorder caused by being drunk, high, or intoxicated
- Mood disorder NOS - any other mood disorder
Each mood episode can be further described in the DSM with certain specifiers, such as:
- Severity - the level distress because of the disorder
- Psychotic features - having either delusions or hallucinations as well
- Remission - having decreased or no symptoms
- Chronic - having symptoms for a long period of time
- Catatonic features - having abnormal, limited, excessive, or echoing movement
- Melancholic features - not feeling better even when something good happens
- Atypical features - mood brightens when something good happens
- Postpartum onset - the episode happens after giving birth
The course of a mood disorder is further described in the DSM with certain specifiers, such as:
- Longitudinal - whether or not a person is able to fully recover between episodes
- Seasonal pattern - when mood episodes regularly occur at a certain time of year
- Rapid cycling - when bipolar disorder (I or II) cycles rapidly between different types of mood episodes
Schizoaffective disorder is a vaguely-defined term (probably at the psychotic end of the bipolar spectrum) that describes patients that show symptoms of both schizophrenia and one of the mood disorders.
Basic and clinical psychiatric research is increasingly showing that unipolar and bipolar mood disorders are continuous entities within the complete mood spectrum. This spectrum runs continuously from unipolar depression to schizo-bipolar disorder with anxiety disorders running across the gamut. However, many professionals contest this claim. Some maintain that bipolar disorder, for example, may actually be biochemically closer to schizophrenia than (unipolar) depression.
There are also forms of mood disorder that are specific to women, related to physiological events such as pregnancy, childbirth or menopause - these include Premenstrual dysphoric disorder and Postpartum depression.
The professionaly-accepted definitions of all of the mood disorders can be found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD).
- Caffeinism's Mimicry of Mental Illness
- Bland, R.C. (1997) Epidemiology of Affective Disorders: A Review. Can J Psychiatry, 42:367–377.
- Mood disorders at the University of California's Neuropsychiatric Institute
- Female mood disorders at the University of California's Neuropsychiatric Institute
- Open Directory Project: Mood Disorders
- The Mood Disorders Association of Ontario
- TrappedMinds.org Mood Disorder Support and Resources
- Mood Disorders Support Group of New York City
- Affective Friends - includes a bibliography and links to treatment sites
|Mood disorders as diagnosed by the DSM edit|
|Mood episodes: Major depressive episode • Manic episode • Mixed episode • Hypomanic episode|