Mood Disorders

A mood disorder, also referred to as an affective disorder, is a condition that severely impacts mood and its related functions. Mood disorder is a broad term that’s used to include all the different types of depressive and bipolar disorders, both of which affect mood. If you have symptoms of a mood disorder, your moods may range from extremely low (depressed) to extremely high or irritable (manic). It is normal for someone’s mood to change, depending on the situation. However, to be diagnosed with a mood disorder, symptoms must be present for several weeks or longer. Mood disorders can cause changes in your behavior and can affect your ability to deal with routine activities, such as work or school.

Mood disorders affect individuals of all ages, but usually appear in adolescence or young adulthood. According to World Health Organization (WHO), globally more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression. In Pakistan, depression has become a major public health problem and 34% people suffer from depression. Studies have consistently documented higher rates of depression among women than among men; the female-to-male ratio averages 2:1.

Women are 2 to 3 times more likely than men to develop dysthymia. For bipolar disorder, it is generally accepted that the ratio between men and women is approximately equal. According to National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there are 27 million people worldwide who have bipolar disorder. Mood disorders have no single cause, but several factors, such as a biochemical imbalance in the brain, psychological factors and socio-economic factors, which tend to make some individuals prone to such disorders.

Major Depressive Disorder

Postpartum depression (peripartum depression) – This type of depression occurs during pregnancy or after delivery.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – This is another type of depression that occurs during certain seasons of the year. It typically starts in the late autumn or early winter and lasts until spring or summer. Less commonly, SAD episodes may also begin during the late spring or summer. Symptoms of winter seasonal affective disorder may resemble those of a major depression. They tend to disappear or lessen during spring and summer.
Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) – This is a chronic form of depression that can last for at least two years. Symptoms may occasionally lessen in severity during this time.
Psychotic depression – This is a type of severe depression combined with psychotic episodes, such as hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that others do not) or delusions (having fixed but false beliefs). The episodes may be upsetting or disturbing and often have a theme.

Bipolar Disorders

This disorder was formerly called “manic depression,” Mania is characterized by euphoric and/or irritable moods and increased energy or activity. During manic episodes, people with bipolar I also regularly engage in activities that can result in painful consequences for themselves and/or others.

To be diagnosed with bipolar II, a person must have had at least one episode of current or past hypomania (a less severe form of mania), and at least one episode of current or past major depression, but no history of any manic episodes. The criteria for episodes of mania, hypomania, and major depression remain the same.

Diagnosis requires a minimum two-year history of many episodes of not-quite hypomania and not-quite major depression.