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Overview of Mood Disorders

By

William Coryell

, MD, Carver College of Medicine at University of Iowa

Last full review/revision Aug 2021| Content last modified Aug 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION

Mood disorders are mental health disorders that involve emotional disturbances consisting of long periods of excessive sadness (depression), excessive joyousness or elation (mania), or both. Depression and mania represent the two extremes, or poles, of mood disorders.

Mood disorders are sometimes called affective disorders. Affect (emphasis on the first syllable) means emotional state as revealed through facial expressions and gestures.

Sadness and joy are part of the normal experience of everyday life and differ from the depression and mania that characterize mood disorders. Sadness is a natural response to loss, defeat, disappointment, trauma, or catastrophe.

Grief or bereavement is the most common of the normal reactions to a loss or separation, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or romantic disappointment. Usually, bereavement and loss do not cause persistent, incapacitating depression except in people predisposed to mood disorders. In some people, loss of a loved one causes more persistent and disabling depression, which has been termed prolonged grief disorder Prolonged grief disorder A short discussion of prolonged grief disorder. Depression is a feeling of sadness and/or a decreased interest or pleasure in activities that becomes a disorder when it is intense enough to... read more .

Did You Know...

  • About 30% of people who visit a doctor say they feel depressed, but fewer than 10% have severe depression.

A mood disorder is diagnosed when sadness or elation is overly intense, is accompanied by certain other typical symptoms, and impairs the ability to function physically, socially, and at work.

About 30% of people report depression as one of their symptoms when they see their doctor. But fewer than 10% actually have severe depression. Nearly 4% of the U.S. population have a bipolar disorder.

More Information

The following are some English-language resources that may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of these resources.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
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Overview of Sexuality
Attitudes toward sexuality are shaped in large measure by one’s parents. Certain parental behaviors can damage the ability to form healthy sexual and emotional intimacy in adult life. Which of the following is NOT a parental behavior that might damage a child’s ability to develop healthy relationships in adulthood?  
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