Mood disorders are emotional disturbances consisting of prolonged periods of excessive sadness, excessive joyousness, or both. Mood disorders can occur in children and adolescents (see Depressive Disorders in Children and Adolescents Depressive Disorders in Children and Adolescents Depressive disorders are characterized by sadness or irritability that is severe or persistent enough to interfere with functioning or cause considerable distress. Diagnosis is by clinical criteria... read more and Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents Bipolar disorder is characterized by alternating periods of mania, depression, and normal mood, each lasting for weeks to months at a time. Diagnosis is based on clinical criteria. Treatment... read more ).
Mood disorders are categorized as
Anxiety and related disorders Overview of Anxiety Disorders Everyone periodically experiences fear and anxiety. Fear is an emotional, physical, and behavioral response to an immediately recognizable external threat (eg, an intruder, a car spinning on... read more , although not classified as mood disorders, often precede or coexist with them.
Sadness and joy (elation) are part of everyday life. Sadness is a universal response to defeat, disappointment, and other discouraging situations. Joy is a universal response to success, achievement, and other encouraging situations. Grief, a form of sadness, is considered a normal emotional response to a loss. Bereavement refers specifically to the emotional response to the death of a loved one. However, in some cases the response to loss is more persistent and disabling and includes symptoms that overlap somewhat with those of posttraumatic stress disorder Symptoms and Signs Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is recurring, intrusive recollections of an overwhelming traumatic event; recollections last > 1 month and begin within 6 months of the event. The pathophysiology... read more (PTSD) and major depressive disorder Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is recurring, intrusive recollections of an overwhelming traumatic event; recollections last > 1 month and begin within 6 months of the event. The pathophysiology... read more (MDD) and last for more than 12 months, thereby fulfilling the criteria for the recently described prolonged grief disorder (1 General reference Mood disorders are emotional disturbances consisting of prolonged periods of excessive sadness, excessive joyousness, or both. Mood disorders can occur in children and adolescents (see Depressive... read more ).
A mood disorder is diagnosed when sadness or elation is
Overly intense and persistent
Accompanied by a requisite number of other mood disorder symptoms
Significantly impairs the person's capacity to function
In such cases, intense sadness is termed depression, and intense elation is termed mania. Depressive disorders are characterized by depression; bipolar disorders are characterized by varying combinations of depression and mania.
Suicide in mood disorders
Lifetime risk of suicide Suicidal Behavior Suicide is death caused by an intentional act of self-harm that is designed to be lethal. Suicidal behavior encompasses a spectrum of behavior from suicide attempt and preparatory behaviors... read more for people with a depressive disorder is 2 to 15%, depending on severity of the disorder. Risk is further increased in the following cases:
At the start of treatment, when psychomotor activity is returning to normal but mood is still dark
At personally significant anniversaries
By alcohol Alcohol Use Disorder and Rehabilitation Alcohol use disorder involves a pattern of alcohol use that typically includes craving and manifestations of tolerance and/or withdrawal along with adverse psychosocial consequences. Alcoholism... read more and substance use Substance Use Disorders Substance use disorders involve a pathologic pattern of behaviors in which patients continue to use a substance despite experiencing significant problems related to its use. Diagnosis of substance... read more
In the weeks to months after a suicide attempt, particularly one using a violent method
Other complications of mood disorders
Other complications of mood disorders include
Disability ranging from mild to complete inability to function, maintain social interaction, and participate in routine activities
Impaired food intake
1. Prigerson HG, Boelen PA, Xu J: Validation of the new DSM-5-TR criteria for prolonged grief disorder and the PG-13-Revised (PG-13-R) scale. World Psychiatry 20(1):96-106, 2021. doi: 10.1002/wps.20823