Let’s talk about Mood Disorders

The diagnosis of a mood disorder means the primary feature is a disturbance in mood.  There are three types of mood disorders: Unipolar Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Cyclothymic Disorder. 

CAUTION: While I am listing the specific symptoms of various mood disorders, this is NOT a substitute for an official diagnosis by a clinician, therapist, or psychologist.  There are nuances and rule outs professionals consider when making an accurate diagnosis.

To start, it would be helpful to understand Depression.  There are eight (8) types of Depression.  For brevity’s sake, I will only discuss four of them in this post.  They include:

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

The symptoms of DMDD begin before age 10.  The symptoms cannot be attributed to other types of depression, mania, or hypomania.  Specific symptoms include:

  1. Severe recurrent temper outbursts manifested verbally and/or behaviorally that are grossly out of proportion in intensity or duration to the situation or provocation.
  2. The temper outbursts are inconsistent with developmental level.
  3. The temper outbursts occur, on average, three (3) or more times per week.
  4. The mood between temper outbursts is persistently irritable or angry most of the day, nearly every day, and is observable by others.
  5. These symptoms have been present for twelve (12) or more months and throughout that time, the individual has not had a period lasting (3) or more consecutive months without all of the symptoms.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

MDD looks different for everyone.  Folks need to report feeling depressed and/or a loss of interest or pleasure.  Beyond that, a person needs to have a minimum of five (5) symptoms.  Potential symptoms include:

  1. Significant unintentional weight loss or gain.
  2. Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.
  3. Psychomotor agitation or retardation.
  4. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  5. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
  6. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness nearly every day.
  7. Recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation without a plan, or a suicide attempt, or a specific plan for committing suicide.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (previously known as Dysthymia)

The major difference between Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) and the other types of depression, is the depressed mood lasts at least two (2) years.  I tend to explain it as a milder form of depression or feeling “blah.”  Folks with chronically low self-esteem tend to have Persistent Depressive Disorder.  Most people can function well day-to-day.  They do not appear like the folks you see in the commercials for depression.  One characteristic I have noticed is a lack of spark or twinkle in their eyes. 

Officially, at least two (2) of the following symptoms must be present along with the depression for the course of the 2 years:

  1. Poor appetite or overeating.
  2. Insomnia or hyposomnia.
  3. Low energy or fatigue.
  4. Low self-esteem.
  5. Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions.
  6. Feelings of hopelessness.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD)

The symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder are present in the final week of the menstrual cycle and begin to improve within a few days of starting menstruation.  In the week following menstruation, there are minimal or no symptoms of depression.

Symptoms fall into two categories: in the first category, there needs to be one or more symptoms present.
  1. Marked effective mobility including mood swings, feeling suddenly sad or tearful, or increased sensitivity to rejection.
  2. Marked irritability or anger or increased interpersonal conflicts.
  3. Marked depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness, or self-depreciating thoughts.
  4. Marked anxiety, tension, and or feelings of being keyed up or on edge.
In the second category, a person must have at least five symptoms:
  1. Decreased interest in usual activities.
  2. Subjective difficulty in concentration.
  3. Lethargy, easily fatigued, or marked lack of energy.
  4. Marked change in appetite; overeating; or specific food cravings.
  5. Hypersomnia or insomnia.
  6. A sense of being overwhelmed or out of control.
  7. Physical symptoms such as breast tenderness or swelling, joint or muscle pain, and a sensation of quote bloating or weight gain.

You made it!  I know this was a lot to take in.   Look for my next blog on Thursday Thoughts On Mental Illness and I will go through the remaining diagnoses in the depression category.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please hit “like” and share on your Social Media platforms. I also encourage you to reach out to me directly if you would like to talk further or if you have any questions. General comments that do not discuss your symptoms are certainly welcome on this blog or if you got here through Facebook or LinkedIn.

Dr. Irgang
Dr. Lisa Irgang is a Clinical Psychologist and the Owner of Relationship Solutions Center. She provides a variety of services to meet her clients needs. Dr. Lisa has worked with people throughout Chicagoland, helping with adjusting to significant life changes, ADHD, Alternative Sexualities, Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Dealing with Chronic Illness, Depression, Low self-esteem, Parenting special needs children, Relationship concerns, and Trauma. She's a graduate of Argosy University Chicago and a Fellow at CLII - Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois.

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