Abnormal Psychology - Mood Disorders

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A mood disorder is the term given for a group of diagnoses in the DSM IV TR classification system where a disturbance in the person's emotional mood is hypothesised to be the main underlying feature. The classification is known as mood (affective) disorders in ICD 10.

English psychiatrist Henry Maudsley proposed an overarching category of affective disorder. The term was then replaced by mood disorder, as the latter term refers to the underlying or longitudinal emotional state, whereas the former refers to the external expression observed by others.

Depression: A low, sad state marked by significant levels of sadness, lack of energy, low self-worth, guilt, or related symptoms.

Mania: a state of or episode of euphoria or frenzied activity in which people may have an exaggerated believe that the world is theirs for the taking.

Symptoms of Depression
Affective symptoms: The most striking symptom is depressed mood, with feelings of sadness, dejection, and excessive and prolonged mourning. Feelings of worthlessness and of having lost the joy of living are common. Wild weeping may occur as a general reaction to frustration or anger. Such crying spells do not seem to be directly correlated with a specific function.

It’s hard to describe the state I was in several months ago. The depression was total – it was as if everything that happened to me passed through this filter which colored all experiences. Nothing was exciting to me. I felt I was no good, completely worthless, and deserving or nothing. The people who tried to cheer me up were just living in a different world.

Cognitive symptoms: Besides general feelings of futility, emptiness, and hopelessness, certain thoughts (e.g. negative view of the self, of the outside world and of the future [Beck, 1974]) and ideas are clearly related to depressive reactions. Disinterest, decreased energy and loss of motivation make it difficult for the depressed person to cope with everyday situations. Work responsibilities become monumental tasks and the person avoids them. Self-accusations of incompetence and general self-denigration are common. Other symptoms include difficulty in concentrating and in making decisions.

Behavioral symptoms: Shows social withdrawal and lowered work productivity. Other symptoms include sloppy or dirty clothing, unkempt hair, and lack of concern of personal hygiene. Slowing down of all body movements, expressive gestures and spontaneous responses is called psychomotor retardation.

Physiological symptoms: -
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Constipation
-Sleep Disturbance, e.g: insomnia, nightmares & hypersomnia
-Disruption of the normal menstrual cycle
-Aversion to sexual activity

Symptoms of Mania
Affective Symptoms: The person’s mood is elevated, expansive, or irritable. Show boundless, energy, enthusiasm and self-assertion. If frustrated, they may become profane and quite belligerent.

Cognitive symptoms: flightiness, pressured thoughts, lack of focus and attention, and poor judgment. Although much of what they say is understandable to others, the accelerated and disjointed nature of their speech makes it difficult to follow their train of thought. They seem incapable of controlling their attention, as though they are constantly distracted by new and more exciting thoughts and ideas.

Behavioral Symptoms: Uninhibited, engaging impulsively in sexual activity or abusive discourse. DSM-IV-TR recognizes 2 levels of manic intensity:-

- Hypomania: affected people seem to be ‘high’ in mood and overactive in behavior. Their judgment is usually poor, although delusions are rare. When they interact with others, people with hypomania dominate the conversation and are often grandiose (meant to produce an imposing effect) .

- Mania: more disruptive behaviors, including pronounced over activity, grandiosity and irritability. Their speech may be incoherent...
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