Merck Manual

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Overview of Mood Disorders

By

William Coryell

, MD, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

Reviewed/Revised Oct 2023
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Mood disorders are categorized as

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.

A mood disorder is diagnosed when sadness or elation is

  • Overly intense and persistent

  • Accompanied by other mood disorder symptoms that meet criteria for a disorder

  • Significantly impairs the person's capacity to function

In such cases, intense sadness is termed depression, and intense elation is termed mania Mania Bipolar disorders are characterized by alternating episodes of mania and depression, although many patients have a predominance of one or the other. Exact cause is unknown, but heredity, changes... read more . Depressive disorders are characterized by depression; bipolar disorders are characterized by varying combinations of depression and mania.

Suicide in mood disorders

Other complications of mood disorders

General references

  • 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

  • 2. Nierenberg AA, Gray SM, Grandin LD: Mood disorders and suicide. J Clin Psychiatry 62 Suppl 25:27-30, 2001. PMID: 11765092

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NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: View Consumer Version
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