Types of mood disorders


Depression is a common experience. Everyone feels ‘down’ from time to time; whether it is about work problems, arguments with friends, or relationships troubles. Sometimes we feel ‘down’ for no reason at all. However depression becomes an illness when the mood state is severe, it lasts for two weeks or more, and it interferes with a person’s ability to function during day-to-day activities. There are many types of depression and symptoms can include changes in sleep pattern, changes in appetite or weight, reduced motivation and energy levels, etc.

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Mania is a state of heightened energy and euphoria – an elevation of mood. Mania can vary from hypomania (where in addition to an elevated mood the person shows impairment of judgement and insight) to severe mania (where delusions and a high level of manic excitement can be so exhausting that hospitalisation is required).

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Bipolar disorder

Bipolar is the term used to describe a set of ‘mood swing’ conditions. There are two general types of bipolar – bipolar disorder I and bipolar disorder II. Bipolar I is more severe, with people more likely to experience mania, have longer ‘highs’, and be more likely to have psychotic experiences. Bipolar II occurs when a person experiences the symptoms of a ‘high’ but has no psychotic experiences. Bipolar disorder can commence during childhood but onset is most common during teens and early twenties.

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