Various Types of Mood Disorders

PsychologyAbnormal Psychology

Everyone faces difficulties at some point as life throws certain unpleasant moments that causes mood swings and frustration. These outbursts can be manageable at times, but occasionally they can also make life difficult by causing extreme shifts in mood which can lead on in developing mood disorders.

What is the Meaning of Mood Disorder?

Mood disorders are a group of mental illnesses that impact an individual's feelings and emotions. They make an individual sad or down for no apparent reason or anxious and worried about things that are not important. Particularly severe mood disorders can lead to difficulties in daily life, such as the inability to concentrate at work or school, trouble getting out of bed, or even suicidal attempts or thoughts. Mood disorders are common, affecting more than 10% of the population at some point in their lives. Mood disorders are classified as:

  • Major depressive disorder ⦁ Major depressive disorder − (MDD) is also known as major depression or clinical depression. Feelings of sadness, anxiety, or hopelessness are all depressive symptoms. The illness can also impair thinking, memory, eating, and sleeping. It is characterized by several somatic, cognitive, and emotional symptoms

  • Manic depression − (previously known as bipolar I disorder) is a mental disorder that causes an individual to experience extreme mood swings, which include emotional "highs" called "Mania" or hypomania and "lows" called "depression."

  • Bipolar II disorder− . This disorder causes depression cycles similar to bipolar I. A person suffering from this disorder might even experience hypomania, a milder version of mania. Furthermore, Hypomanic episodes are less intense and disruptive than manic episodes

  • Cyclothymic disorder− It is a mood disorder characterized by periods of depression and mania, and it is known to be less severe than bipolar I and II disorder

  • Other medical conditions cause bipolar disorder and associated disorders. Some medical issues can induce bipolar disorder symptoms. This is diagnosed when there is evidence that the mood disorder is the direct physiological effect of another medical condition.

  • A depressive disorder caused by another medical disease. Similar to bipolar disorder caused by another medical condition, this diagnosis is used for persons who experience depressive symptoms, but the symptoms are directly caused by another medical condition, such as hypothyroidism.

  • Substance/medication-induced bipolar disorder. This term refers to a person who has bipolar disorder, episode of mania, hypomania, or major depressive symptoms resulting from alcohol or drug use

  • Persistent depressive disorder is formally known as dysthymia. It is a chronic form of depression in which a person loses interest in normal day-to-day activities, has low self-esteem, lacks productivity and energy, increases eating, and changes in sleeping patterns with various physical symptoms and hopelessness

  • Substance/medication-induced depressive disorder. When a person develops a depressive disorder from alcohol, drugs, or medicine, this diagnosis is utilized and has symptoms of depression such as low mood, decreased will to perform daily life activities, etc.

  • Other specified or unspecified bipolar. These diagnoses are used when a person does not match the criteria for any other type of bipolar disorder but has bipolar symptoms such as a hypomanic episode lasting only two days.

Other specified or unspecified depressive disorders: The diagnoses are used when a person has a depressive disorder but does not satisfy the clinical criteria for any other depressive disorder. This enables discussion of the specific reasons why the presentation does not satisfy the criteria for any particular depressive disorder

Symptoms of Mood Disorder

Hypomanic or manic episodes include −

Depressive symptoms include −

According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, mood disorder is diagnosed when depression, elation, frustration, or another emotion is excessively intense and persistent—followed by several other mood disorder symptoms, including changes in sleep or activity level. Significantly reduces the individual's ability to function. Mood disorders are mainly categorized into −


Depression is a complex mood disorder. It is characterized by persistent low mood, a persistent loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, a noticeable change in appetite and sleep, and often feelings of guilt or worthlessness. Several types of depression are−

  • Postpartum depression (peripartum depression)−

  • Persistent depressive disorder

  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

  • Depression with psychosis

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by extreme mood swings. Between manic and depressive episodes, you might also feel " high. " People with bipolar disorder experience episodes of mania, followed by periods of severe depression. Four basic types of bipolar disorder include−

  • Bipolar I disorder

  • Bipolar II disorder

  • Cyclothymia disorder (cyclothymia)

  • Other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders

Other specified/ unspecified mood disorders

  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD)

Differences in various mood disorders

  • The main difference between depressive and bipolar disorder is the presence or absence of manic episodes. Manic episodes are elevated mood, energy, and talkativeness that last for at least a week or so. In depressive disorders, there are no manic episodes present, and it is only characterized by sadness, loss of energy, and low mood, whereas in bipolar disorder, both high and low moods are present, causing unusual shifts in energy and mood

  • With cyclothymic disorder, individuals have lower and mild periods (hypomanias) combined with brief, short-lived periods of depression that last less than two weeks at a time. Cyclothymic disorder hypomanias are similar to bipolar II disorder hypomanias as they do not continue to advance to full-blown manias. Some people find the "highs" of cyclothymic disorder enjoyable, thus making it difficult to diagnose

  • Persistent depressive disorder, dysthymia refers to as mild chronic depression, which is less severe and has fewer symptoms than major depressive disorder; an individual with dysthymia displays depressive symptoms for a long period, often two years or longer, where they also experience major depression along with PDD, which is sometimes terms as "double depression."

  • Bipolar I is defined as having at least one episode of present or previous hypomania (a milder form of mania) and at least one episode of present or history of major depression; however, is no history of manic episodes. A person with bipolar II can experience only hypomanic episodes with a major depressive episode that is less severe than a full Manic episode as in bipolar I

  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) generally happens at specific times. It generally goes into effect in late fall or early winter and lasts until the spring or summer. SAD episodes can also start in the late spring or summer, which is less common. Winter seasonal affective disorder symptoms can be similar to those of major depression, and during the spring and summer, they usually go away or decrease.


A mood disorder is a type of mental illness that specifically targets one's emotional state. It is a condition during which one experiences an extended period of intense happiness, depression, or both. Different mood disorders exhibit different symptoms. Although these symptoms are closely similar and may overlap, making them a little difficult to diagnose, they differ in severity and in "highs" and "lows" episodes, whereas some have a specific time for their onset and decline.

Ways to cope with a mood disorder is to primarily cope with one's symptoms and get the most out of life, such as self-care, medication (Anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, mood stabilizers), psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, etc.

Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47