All About Mood Disorders


Your mood describes your overall emotional state at any time. Contrary to emotions which are temporary responses to a particular situation, the mood is a general feeling that can be triggered by a less specific trigger. While emotions can be intense such as rage or euphoria, moods are more general and less intense than those of emotion.

Moods are not permanent, but they tend to last longer than other emotions.

What is a Mood Disorder?

Mood disorders refer to mental illnesses that can affect your emotional state. All people experience distressing moods now and again, but those with mood disorders have more severe or distressing moods. They often feel out of tune with their environment and surroundings.

There are two major types of mood disorders

Most mood disorders are classified by psychologists into one of two types: depression or bipolar disorder. Although certain mood disorders may have similar symptoms, they all require a unique diagnosis.


Depression can be described as sadness, loneliness, and emptiness. Depression is more than just sadness. It can also be a medical condition that directly and negatively affects your daily life. There are many types of depression disorders.

Major depression disorder (MDD), also known as clinical or depressive depression, is a type of depression that lasts at most two weeks. However, it can also last for months or even years. It is the most common type of mood disorder.

Persistent depression disorder (PDD), also known as chronic major depressive disorder or dysthymia (at least two years), lasts longer than MDD but is generally less severe.

Psychotic Depression: Psychotic depression occurs when patients have MDD and psychosis. Hospitalization is often required for severe depression. It is important that you distinguish psychotic depression from schizophrenia.

Postpartum Depression (PPD): This is common for parents who have a newborn. This is unlike the temporary “baby blues”, which are common within the first two weeks after a baby’s birth.

Seasonal affective disorders (SAD): People who suffer from seasonal affective disorder feel down during the transition to new seasons. SAD is most common during transitions to darker, colder seasons like fall and winter.

Disruptive disorder of mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD),: DMDD, a disorder of childhood mood that causes extreme irritability and outbursts for at least a full year, is a disorder that affects children.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can be described as extreme mood swings and energy changes. Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings, ranging from hypomania or mania (“high highs”) down to depression (“low lows”) There are three types of bipolar disorder.

Bipolar I: Bipolar I can be characterized by depressive and manic episodes. Manic episodes can last up to a week and may result in hospitalization. Depressive episodes can last for at least two weeks. Bipolar I sufferers may experience mixed depression.

Bipolar II – People with bipolar II have hypomanic episodes and depressive episodes but not mania.

What causes mood disorders?

Genetics – If someone in your family is suffering from depression or bipolar disorder you might be more susceptible to developing a mood disorder.

Biochemistry – There is evidence that brain structure and brain balance may be factored in mood disorders.

Trauma – Having trauma can raise your risk of developing multiple mental disorders, especially mood disorders.

Dementia – If you have a chronic illness, are experiencing pain, or have a disability, it may increase your chances of developing depression.

Side Effects of Medications – Certain drugs may cause depression or mood swings that are not listed in the side effects.