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 .
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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.
When only depression Depression 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 occurs, it is termed a unipolar disorder. Other mood disorders, termed bipolar disorders Bipolar Disorder In bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness), episodes of depression alternate with episodes of mania or a less severe form of mania called hypomania. Mania is characterized... read more , involve episodes of depression alternating with episodes of mania or hypomania (a less severe form of mania). Mania without depression (called unipolar mania) is very rare.
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.
Having a mood disorder, particularly one that involves depression, increases the risk of other problems, such as inability to do daily activities and maintain relationships, loss of appetite, extreme anxiety Overview of Anxiety Disorders Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, worry, or unease that is a normal human experience. It is also present in a wide range of psychiatric disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder,... read more , and alcohol use disorder Alcohol Use Alcohol (ethanol) is a depressant (it slows down brain and nervous system functioning). Consuming large amounts rapidly or regularly can cause health problems, including organ damage, coma,... read more . As many as 15% of people with untreated depression end their life by suicide Suicidal Behavior Suicide is death caused by an intentional act of self-harm that is designed to be lethal. Suicidal behavior includes completed suicide, attempted suicide, and suicidal ideation. Suicide usually... read more .
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.
Mental Health America (MHA): Community-based nonprofit organization that promotes mental health as a critical part of overall wellness and provides educational materials and information on public policy
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Largest grassroots mental health organization in the United States dedicated to improving the lives of people living with mental illness
National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH): General information on many aspects of mental illness, including research, legislation, and outreach