Nearby: Atlanta, GA 30308

Access Your Account

New to Healthgrades?

Join for free!

Or, sign in directly with Healthgrades:

Doctors and their Administrators:
Sign Up or Log In

Bad Moods

Mood Disorders


Healthgrades Editorial Staff

What are mood disorders?

Mood disorders, or affective disorders, are mental health problems such as depression, bipolar disorder, and mania. Mood disorders can occur in anyone, including children. The cause of mood disorders is not fully understood, but an imbalance in brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters is likely to play a role. Sometimes mood disorders may be related to a medical condition, substance abuse, life events, or other causes.

The most common types of mood disorders include major depression, dysthymic disorder (milder depressive disorder), and bipolar disorder, in which alternating episodes of depression and mania (elevated mood) occur in the same individual. It is normal for your mood to change, and most people go through times of feeling sad. When these feelings last for a very long time or interfere with your life, however, you may have a mood disorder.

Looking for a Doctor?

Find a Great Therapist Near You

Symptoms of mood disorders include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness or inadequacy that do not go away; guilt; suicidal thoughts; fatigue; changes in appetite; irritability; difficulty concentrating; and trouble engaging in daily tasks and relationships. Mood disorders can also cause an elevated mood (mania) that is accompanied by feelings of grandiosity, extreme energy, and heightened arousal. These feelings are stronger and last longer than normal, and interfere with day-to-day life.

7 Things That Make Depression Worse

For most people depression is a mix of many factors, such as social, environmental and genetic causes.

Treatment for mood disorders depends on the evaluation of a medical professional. Medication, cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, and lifestyle modification may all be used. It is important to get early treatment for a mood disorder to reduce the severity of symptoms and manage any complications.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, express suicidal thoughts or attempt to harm yourself or others.

Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for mood disorders and symptoms recur, are persistent, or interfere with your daily life.

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Sep 13, 2016

© 2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

View Sources

Medical References

  1. Major depression. PubMed Health.
  2. Mental and behavioral health care. Ohio State University Medical Center.

You Might Also Like

Diabetes and Depression

Doctors still aren’t sure exactly why diabetes and depression so often go hand in hand.

Your Brain on Migraines

Experts believe that people with migraines may have particularly sensitive brains that can be triggered by a variety of factors.

Share via Email


Psychological Disorders


Mood Swings

Up Next

Mood Swings