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Mood Disorders

Central Issues: Disturbance in Emotion (Sadness or Melancholy vs. Elation & Excitement)


[Depressed People]

Some Recent Trends

CDC Table: Antidepressant Use in Adults  CDC Chart: Antidepressant Drugs Visits in Children


 Affective-Emotional Symptoms Cognitive Symptoms Motor & Physiological Symptoms

Pole I: Depressive Episode
Sadness, Hopelessness, Despair, Withdrawal, Irritability & Anger (esp. Adolesc.) Slowness in thinking; Negative Triad (self, world, future), self-blame, guilt, suicidal thoughts Inactivity, Sleep disturbance, lowered sexual interests & activity

Pole II: Manic Episode
  Elation, euphoria, social intensity & engaged, irritability & "thin skinned"   Racing thoughts (flight of ideas), grandiosity, extreme self-confidence, impulsive (ill-considered actions)
 Tirelessness, hyperactive, increased sexual interest & activity, talkative

Major Depressive Disorder (Unipolar)

Bipolar Disorder

Etiology (Causes) of Mood Disorder



[Causes of Mood Disorders]


Biological (Genetic) Vulnerabilities


Psychological Vulnerabilities


Precipitating Factors

lead to

[Synapse]Neurochemical/Biological Problems

  • Neurotransmitters: norepinepherine (NE) and serotonin (5-HT) are thought to be involved in depressive disorder.
  • SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) e.g. Prozac, Zoloft
  • We have no theory to account for the manic phase of bipolar disorder




[Martin Seligman] Cognitive Problems

  • Martin Seligman's Theories of Learned Helplessness & Hopelessness
    • Learned Helplessness
    • Hopelessness Theory .

Interpersonal Problems

lead to

Mood Disorder



This page was originally posted on 11/19/03 and last updated on 11/28/06