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 and Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents).
Mood disorders are categorized as
Anxiety and related disorders, although not classified as mood disorders, also affect mood.
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 death of a loved one.
A mood disorder is diagnosed when sadness or elation is overly intense and persistent, is accompanied by a requisite number of other mood disorder symptoms, and 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.
Lifetime risk of suicide for people with a depressive disorder is 2 to 15%, depending on severity of the disorder. Risk is further increased in the following cases: