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Mood Disorders

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A person who suffers from distorted, inappropriate or extreme moods or emotions is said to be suffering from a mood disorder. These mood disorders are different from the normal mood changes experienced by people. In such cases, it is classified as a mental illness, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV TR).


When the general emotional state or mood is inconsistent and distorted to such an extent that it leads to a debilitating condition, it is called as mood disorders. There are different forms of mood disorders. The affected person may suffer from extreme emotional swings and feel like crying, depressed, and even get suicidal thoughts. In some cases, the opposite is seen, the person experiences extreme energy and does not sleep for many days. The person even has his/her decision making process hampered during this time.

Types of Mood Disorders

There are different types of mood disorders that are experienced by people. These include:

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a condition where the person suffers from the cycles of persistent and abnormal high mood called mania and low mood, that is, depression. It is further divided into:

  • Bipolar I
  • Bipolar II
  • Cyclothymia
  • Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BD-NOS)

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) where the person has a high risk for suicide. Actor Robin Williams was said to suffer from a Bipolar Disorder along with major depressive disorder, that pushed him to suicide.

Depressive Disorder that often goes undetected and its sub-types includes:

  • Atypical depression (AD)
  • Melancholic depression
  • Psychotic major depression (PMD)
  • Catatonic depression
  • Postpartum depression (PPD)
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Dysthymia
  • Double depression
  • Depressive Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DD-NOS)
  • Depressive personality disorder (DPD)
  • Recurrent brief depression (RBD)
  • Minor depressive disorder

Substance-induced mood disorders where a substance directly influences one’s physiologic effects. These substances include psychoactive drugs, alcohol, etc. These substances-induced disorders cause mania, hypomanic, mixed or depressive episodes. Types of substance-induced mood disorders include:

  • Alcohol-induced mood disorders
  • Benzodiazepine-induced mood disorders
  • Mood disorders due to a general medical condition
  • Mood disorders not otherwise specified (MD-NOS)

Symptoms of Mood Disorders

Some of the mood disorder symptoms include:

  • Expansive or irritable mood
  • Inflated or low self-esteem
  • Increase in energy or low energy levels
  • Heightened sexual drive or loss of interest in intimacy
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Guilt
  • elancholy
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Fatigue, etc.

Causes of Mood Disorders

There are a number of causes for mood disorders. These include genetic factors that make one prone to depression and other mood disorders. Some people develop mood disorders due to hormonal changes, especially in women, loss of a spouse, death of a child or close one, financial loss, status loss, trauma, abuse that includes sexual, emotional, physical, etc.

Treatment for Mood Disorders

There are different treatments available for mood disorders. These disorders include cognitive behavior therapy, medications, antidepressant drugs, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, etc. There are many support groups that help the affected person talk about their feelings and overcome their disorders.

About 10% of the population suffer from mood disorders. They experience ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of a greater intensity than normal. If you experience changes in mood for a long period of time, speak to a doctor. Denial is never helpful and seeking treatment will help make your life better.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: April 07, 2015

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