Mood Disorder

When you think of mood disorders, depression and bipolar disorder likely come to mind first. That’s because these are common, severe illnesses and leading causes of disability. Depression and bipolar disorder can be emotionally crippling, making it difficult to live life to its fullest. What you may not know is that two milder versions of these mood disorders can also take a toll, and can go undiagnosed. These are called dysthymic disorder and cyclothymic disorder.

If you have a mood disorder, your general emotional state or mood is distorted or inconsistent with your circumstances. Some examples of mood disorders include:

  • Major depressive disorder —prolonged and persistent periods of extreme sadness
  • Bipolar disorder —also called manic depression or bipolar affective disorder, depression that includes alternating times of extreme sadness (depression) and extreme happiness (mania)
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) —a form of depression most often associated with fewer hours of daylight in the far northern and southern latitudes from late fall to early spring
  • Cyclothymic disorder —a disorder that causes emotional ups and downs that are less extreme than bipolar disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder —mood changes and irritability that occur during the premenstrual phase of a woman’s cycle and go away with the onset of menses
  • Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) —a long-term (chronic) form of depression
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder —a disorder of chronic, severe and persistent irritability in children that often includes frequent temper outbursts that are inconsistent with the child’s developmental age
  • Depression related to medical illness —a persistent depressed mood and a significant loss of pleasure in most or all activities that’s directly related to the physical effects of another medical condition

For most people, mood disorders can be successfully treated with medications and talk therapy (psychotherapy).