Difference Between Mood Disorders and Personality Disorders

Many facets of functioning are impacted in cases of both mood and personality disorders. Mood disorders are a category of ailments where an individual's emotional state and associated functions are significantly disrupted. Yet, personality disorders are characterised by persistently aberrant behaviours. The sections that follow will elaborate on these differences.

What are Mood Disorders?

Mood disorders, also known as mood affective disorders, are a cluster of illnesses defined by a pervasive disruption of an individual's emotional state and its associated functioning. The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) classified mood disorders as either manic-depressive or nonmanic-depressive (DiMaria, 2020).

These are some of the primary diagnostic criteria for the many types of bipolar and associated disorders and depressive disorders:

Bipolar and Related Disorders

Bipolar I Disorder − Manic episodes are characterised by abnormally high or irritated mood and enhanced activity for at least a week. Sleeplessness, a heightened sense of self-confidence, a lack of inhibition while making purchases, and even sexual transgressions are all indicators. Hypomanic episodes (characterised by excessively heightened mood or irritation for four days in a row) and severe depressive episodes (which occur before or after a manic episode) are also possible.

Bipolar II Disorder − Hypomania and significant depression, defined as at least two weeks of feeling hopeless or uninterested, are necessary for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Cyclothymic Disorder − Hypomanic and depressed symptoms have been observed by patients with this illness, although the diagnostic criteria for either disorder have not been met.

Depressive Disorders

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder − The hallmarks of this condition include outbursts of extreme anger that last for at least a year and occur at least three times a week on average.

Major Depressive Disorder − Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, emptiness, or worthlessness may persist for at least two weeks in those with this illness. Individuals may also experience a loss of appetite, an increase in appetite, insomnia, hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation or retardation, weariness, impaired concentration, and/or persistent thoughts of death.

Persistent Depressive Disorder − Major depressive disorder is defined by depressive symptoms that last for at least two years.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder − It's possible for women with this illness to have mood swings, extreme irritability, extreme anxiety, and depression in the days leading up to menstruation.

What are Personality Disorders?

Personality disorders are divided into groups A, B, and C in the DSM-5. Cluster A includes peculiar or unusual characteristics, Cluster B includes dramatic, unpredictable, or emotional characteristics, and Cluster C includes worried or afraid characteristics. Some characteristics and diagnostic criteria for such diseases are outlined below.

Cluster A

Paranoid Personality Disorder − This is exemplified by persistently suspecting others without sufficient basis, bearing grudges, and being quick to react angrily to misperceived attacks.

Schizoid Personality Disorder − Those with this diagnosis have a pervasive pattern of social detachment and restricted expression. The symptoms include lacking close friends, exhibiting emotional coldness, and rarely enjoying social activities.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder − This is indicated by irrational beliefs that random occurrences are related to oneself, magical thinking, odd thinking, unusual speech and perceptual experiences, suspiciousness, inappropriate reactions, eccentric behavior, lack of close friends, and social anxiety.

Cluster B

Antisocial Personality Disorder − This is exemplified by a pattern of failure to conform to norms, disregard for others’ rights, deceitfulness, impulsivity, lack of remorse, irresponsibility, and/or irritability.

Borderline Personality Disorder − Those with this condition have unstable interpersonal relationships, identity, and emotions. They may have frantic efforts to avoid abandonment (may be merely imagined), suicidal behavior, feelings of emptiness, inappropriate anger, and paranoid ideations.

Histrionic Personality Disorder − This is characterized by excessive emotionality and attention seeking behavior. The symptoms include always wanting to be the center of attention, provocative behavior, rapidly shifting emotions, impressionistic yet shallow speech, exaggerated behavior, and perceiving relationships to be more intimate than they actually are.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder − Those with this condition have a pattern of grandiosity, lack of empathy, and need for excessive admiration. They often exaggerate their achievements, exploit others, have fantasies of power and ideal love, believe that they are highly special, envy others, and show arrogant behavior.

Cluster C

Avoidant Personality Disorder − This is characterized by social inhibition, low self-esteem, and hypersensitivity to criticisms. Those with this condition may avoid interpersonal contact due to fear of rejection and generally view themselves as inadequate.

Dependent Personality Disorder − This is a pervasive pattern of submissive and clingy behavior due to the excessive need to be cared for. The symptoms include being extremely indecisive, needs others to take responsibilities for them, significant difficulties in expressing disagreement, extremely uncomfortable when alone, and irrationally preoccupied with being left to take care of oneself.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder − Those with this condition are irrationally preoccupied with perfectionism, orderliness, control, details, and rules.

Differences: Mood Disorders and Personality Disorders

The following table highlights the major differences between Mood Disorders and Personality Disorders −


Mood Disorders

Personality Disorders


Mood disorders are a collection of diseases including severe depression and manic episodes that significantly disrupt an individual's emotional state.

Personality disorders are long-term departures from the social norm manifested by harmful and inflexible patterns of behaviour, thinking, and functioning; examples include paranoid personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.


Bipolar and associated disorders (such as bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymic) and depressive disorders are classified separately in DSM-5 (e.g. disruptive mood dysregulation, major depressive, persistent depressive, and premenstrual dysphoric).

In contrast, the hallmarks of personality disorders fall into one of three distinct categories: (anxious traits).

DSM-5 Chapters

Not literally specified

Literally specified


In conclusion, mood disorders and personality disorders are distinct mental health conditions that have different causes, symptoms, and treatment methods. It is important for individuals experiencing symptoms of either condition to seek professional help in order to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Updated on: 19-Apr-2023


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