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What is a Mood Disorder?

A mood disorder is a mental health condition featuring intense or distressing changes in mood. Mood disorders typically include depression (long-term feelings of sadness, irritability or hopelessness), mania (feeling overly happy or energetic for an extended period of time) or both depression and mania. To be diagnosed with a mood disorder, your symptoms must make it significantly hard for you to function. This self-assessment quiz can help you identify if you have symptoms of a mood disorder.

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Please note: this online mental health screening test is not intended to diagnose an illness. If you are struggling with mental health symptoms, we encourage you to call us at 1-877-715-1878 or find an experienced mental health treatment professional near you. If you are experiencing a mental health or medical emergency, please dial 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

If You Need Help for Mood Issues

If left untreated, mood disorders can increase your risk of being hospitalized, attempting suicide, or having serious, chronic health problems. We encourage anyone experiencing symptoms like the ones listed on this page to reach out for help. Collaborative treatment from medical, psychiatric and mental health professionals offers individuals with mood disorders the best chance for a full and lasting recovery.

If you or someone you care about needs help for mood symptoms, please call us at 877-715-1878 to speak confidentially with a Master’s-level clinician for free.

Types of Mood Disorders

We review common mood disorders below. Know that mood disorder symptoms can be caused by certain medications, substances of abuse and medical conditions.

Major Depressive Disorder

People with major depressive disorder experience symptoms of depression (sadness, emptiness, irritability) along with possible changes in appetite, energy, sleep or weight. These depression symptoms are present most of the day, nearly every day, for two weeks or longer. Depression symptoms often last much longer than two weeks and can be helped by mood disorder treatment. If you think you are depressed due to feelings of grief or bereavement, you may not actually have major depressive disorder. However, when a person has major depressive disorder and is experiencing intense grief, their symptoms can be even more distressing.

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is characterized by chronic irritability and recurring temper tantrums or outbursts that are above and beyond what is appropriate for the situation. Outbursts are not age or developmentally appropriate and occur three or more times per week. People with DMDD are often irritable or angry most of the day, nearly every day. This condition primarily affects children and adolescents aged 6-18.

Bipolar I Disorder

In order to be diagnosed with bipolar I disorder, an individual must have had at least one manic episode. A manic episode includes an abnormal, persistent, elevated or irritable mood that lasts at least one week. Symptoms must be present most of the day, nearly every day, and include some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Inappropriately high self-esteem
  • Grandiosity
  • A decreased need for sleep
  • Talking more than usual or pressured speech
  • Racing thoughts
  • Increased activity level

Some people may exhibit more irritability and anger during a manic episode. They may drive more recklessly, go on big shopping sprees, or act out sexually. Depression may follow the manic episode. People with untreated bipolar I disorder may need to be hospitalized for safety reasons. It is common for people in a manic episode to insist that they are fine and that they do not need treatment.

Bipolar II Disorder

Bipolar II disorder is characterized by having:

  • At least one hypomanic episode that lasts at least 4 days
  • At least one major depressive episode that lasts at least two weeks (see symptoms for major depression on this page).

A hypomanic episode includes an elevated or irritable mood along with an increased activity level or energy level that lasts most of the day, nearly every day for at least 4 consecutive days. Symptoms can include very high self-esteem, a decreased need for sleep, impulsivity, racing thoughts, and risk-taking behaviors. While others may notice these behavior changes, a hypomanic episode is typically not severe enough to cause major problems at home or at work and hospitalization is usually not necessary. Instead, people with bipolar II disorder tend to struggle more during a depressive episode than they do during a hypomanic episode. Therefore, bipolar II disorder is not a “milder” form of bipolar I disorder because it can also lead to serious problems. Note that if someone has had at least one manic episode, they would be diagnosed with bipolar I, not bipolar II.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a mood disorder that affects females during the latter half of their menstrual cycle, following ovulation (during the luteal phase). The mood symptoms start to decline on the first day of one’s period and are minimal or absent through ovulation (during the follicular phase). Symptoms of PMDD include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Mood swings
  • Crying
  • Irritability
  • Interpersonal conflict (often with one’s family members)
  • Anxiety or depression

These symptoms make it difficult to maintain work, school, personal relationships and hobbies.

Dysthymia (Persistent Depressive Disorder)

For a diagnosis of dysthymia, an individual must have experienced a depressed mood, most of the day, most days, for at least two years. People with dysthymia may also experience changes in the following areas:

These challenging symptoms negatively impact one’s home and work life and personal relationships.

  • Appetite, eating or weight
  • Sleep
  • Energy
  • Self-esteem
  • Concentrating and making decisions

These challenging symptoms negatively impact one’s home and work life and personal relationships.

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