Did you know?

21.4% of U.S. adults experience a mood disorder at some point in their lives.

Photo of eggs with emotions drawn on them.

It's normal to experience a range of emotions, but if your mood or changes in mood become extreme enough to affect your daily life, it could be due to a mood disorder.

While depressive and bipolar disorders are the main forms, several different types of mood disorders exist.


Major depressive disorder is also referred to as "clinical depression".

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It involves having symptoms such as feelings of sadness and hopelessness for at least 2 weeks. Other symptoms may include:

  • Sleep irregularities

  • Feeling constantly tired

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Feeling worthless

  • Lack of interest in many activities

Clipboard with the word 'depression', surrounded by photos of sad people.

Persistent depressive disorder (previously also known as dysthymia) is a form of depression that is less severe but has lasted for 2 or more years.

Learn more about recognizing the signs of depression in this Byte.

Other Depressive Disorders

Some types of mood disorders include symptoms of depression and mood changes, but have additional characteristics that give them their own diagnosis. These include:

Winter Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

This type of depression affects people seasonally, usually in winter when there is less daylight.

Baby Postpartum Depression

This type of depression is experienced by mothers after they give birth.

Angry child Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

This disorder is diagnosed in children who experience persistent irritability and frequent extreme temper outbursts.

Menstruation calendar Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

This involves symptoms such as irritability and depressed mood before menstruation, which are resolved afterwards.

Bipolar Disorder

Black square with Scrabble tiles spelling out Bipolar.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme changes in mood from very low (depression) to very high (mania).

Paper with the word :mania

During manic episodes, a person may:

  • Eat and sleep less

  • Feel extremely high, elated, or irritable

  • Have racing thoughts or speech

  • Do risky things that are potentially harmful to themselves

  • Feel unusually important or powerful

Cyclothymic disorder is a mild form of bipolar disorder.

Cyclothymic disorder involves brief periods of mild depression and periods of hypomania (high mood that is less severe than mania).


Kim was feeling down, tired, and unmotivated starting in November. In late March, her symptoms improved. What mood disorder might she be experiencing?

Other Mood-Related Disorders

These types of mood disorders involve symptoms of depression or mania that are triggered or induced.

Photo of a hospital room. Photo by Adhy Savala on Unsplash

Medical Illness-Related

Symptoms can be triggered by medical conditions such as cancer, infections, and stroke.

Photo of pills and capsules. Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash


Symptoms can be due to the effects of medication, toxins, or substance abuse, including alcoholism.

Take Action

Don't self-diagnose!

If you think you might have a mood disorder, get in touch with your doctor or a psychiatrist. Only they can diagnose you with a mood disorder.


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