Psychological Disorders

Introduction to Mood Disorders

What you’ll learn to do: describe the characteristic symptoms and risk factors of mood disorders, including major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder

Black and white photograph of a woman sitting on a bench by herself with her head down.

Mood disorders are those in which the person experiences severe disturbances in mood and emotion. They include depressive disorders and bipolar and related disorders. Depressive disorders include major depressive disorder, which is characterized by episodes of profound sadness and loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities and other associated features, and persistent depressive disorder, which marked by a chronic state of sadness. Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood states that vacillate between sadness and euphoria; a diagnosis of bipolar disorder requires experiencing at least one manic episode, which is defined as a period of extreme euphoria, irritability, and increased activity.

Mood disorders appear to have a genetic component, with genetic factors playing a more prominent role in bipolar disorder than in depression. Both biological and psychological factors are important in the development of depression. People who suffer from mental health problems, especially mood disorders, are at heightened risk for suicide.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the symptoms, results, and risk factors of major depressive disorder
  • Understand the differences between major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder, and identify two subtypes of depression
  • Describe the symptoms and risk factors of bipolar disorder
  • Describe genetic, biological, and psychological explanations of major depressive disorder
  • Discuss the relationship between mood disorders and suicidal ideation, as well as factors associated with suicide

License

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General Psychology by OpenStax and Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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