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Mood Disorders

Mood Disorders (affective disorders)

• Disorders in which one’s range of affect

(mood) is restricted (as in depression) or
expanded (as in bipolar disorder).
• Major Depression
• Dysthymia
• Bipolar Disorder (formerly manic depression)
• Cyclothymia
Depression Symptoms
• Emotional
• Cognitive
• Motivational
• Physical
• more than just a case of “the blues”
• overwhelming feelings of sadness
• lack of interest in activities and inability to
experience pleasure
• excessive guilt or feelings of worthlessness
• changes in sleep, appetite, ability to
• possible suicidal thoughts or actions
Major Depression
• very severe
• symptoms must be present for two weeks
• person may be unable to function normally
and may need hospitalization

• less severe but “chronic”or long lasting
• symptoms must be present for two years
• person can usually function but leads a very
unhappy, painful, unfulfilling existence
Bipolar Disorder
• Person experiences alternating episodes of
depression and mania “mood swings”
• Manic episodes involving:
– excess energy,
– racing thoughts,
– pressured speech,
– grandiosity,
– impulsive behavior,
– poor judgment,
– little need of sleep,
– full of confidence,
– enthusiastic

• a less severe form of bipolar disorder

Causes of Mood Disorders
• biological factors
– genetics - mood disorders are more
common in close relatives, esp. bipolar
– brain chemistry changes as a result of
experience (e.g., stress or illness)
– Neurotransmitters: serotonin,
Causes of Mood Disorders - 2
• psychological (cognitive) factors
– cognitive distortions or wrong interpretation of
– Cognitive triad – Aaron Beck
– Attributional style - Seligman
• social factors/stressors
– real or perceived loss or stress in various
Causes - 3
• Psychoanalytic perspective:
• Early childhood experiences of loss of
parental affection
• Overdependence of external approval
• Internalization of anger
• myth - people who talk about it never do it
• fact - most people will give clues about their plans
• fact - more women attempt but more men
complete, men use more lethal methods
• fact - people thinking of suicide will often give
away possessions and “put their affairs in order”
• fact - suicide is becoming more common among
teens and children