Mood disorder is the term designating a group of diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV TR) classification system where a disturbance in the person's mood is hypothesized to be the main underlying feature. The classification is known as mood (affective) disorders in ICD 10.
English psychiatrist Henry Maudsley proposed an overarching category of affective disorder. The term was then replaced by mood disorder, as the latter term refers to the underlying or longitudinal emotional state, whereas the former refers to the external expression observed by others.
Two groups of mood disorders are broadly recognized; the division is based on whether the person has ever had a manic or hypomanic episode. Thus, there are depressive disorders, of which the best-known and most researched is major depressive disorder (MDD)commonly called clinical depression or major depression, and bipolar disorder (BD), formerly known as manic depression and characterized by intermittent episodes of mania or hypomania, usually interlaced with depressive episodes. However, there are also forms of depression of MDD and BD that are less severe and are known as dysthymic disorder (in relation to MDD) and cyclothymic disorder (in relation to BD).
Type Of Mood Disorder:
This is the most common type of mood disorder which will affect 13% of Canadian adults at some point in their lifetime. It’s diagnosed when a depressed mood or loss of interest in almost all activities lasts more than 2 weeks. Since clinical depression affects the way a person feels, thinks, and behaves, typical signs & symptoms include:
- Sad and/or anxious
- Helpless and/or hopeless
- Mood swings and/or irritability
- Self-criticism and/or pessimism
- Poor memory and concentration
- Difficulty making decisions
- Thoughts of suicide
- Crying spells
- Loss of motivation
- Lack of attention to physical appearance
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Overeating or loss of appetite resulting in weight gain or loss
- Lack of energy or chronic tiredness
- Loss of sexual desire
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
If depressive symptoms develop during the autumn or winter, it’s thought to be seasonal affective disorder. Since SAD tends to occur more often in climates with longer winters and reduced daylight hours, it’s sometimes called “winter blues”.
It’s common for women to have mood swings or experience “baby blues” for the 1-2 weeks after giving birth as their hormone levels change and they adapt to being a new parent. But when depressive symptoms last longer and are more severe, affecting the mother’s ability to function normally, it’s considered post-partum depression.
Additional signs & symptoms someone may experience include:
- Feeling intense and irrational fear
- Feeling guilty
- Seeing their child with ambivalence, disinterest or negativity
- Feeling restless
This is a less common type of mood disorder and can be hard to diagnose. Someone with bipolar disorder or manic depression experiences extreme mood swings (i.e., periods of depression and mania) with periods or normal mood in between the highs and lows. Time between bouts of depression and mania can range from days, weeks, or years.
Signs & symptoms of mania include:
- Elevated mood
- Feeling increased energy or overactivity
- Needing less sleep than usual
- Irritability and lack of insight
- Rapid thoughts and speech
- Lack of inhibitions
- Grandiose delusions