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Caring for adults
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2.1 Mood disorders

Described image
Figure 1 There are many different types of mood disorder

Mood disorder does not just refer to whether you are angry (in a bad mood) or understandably happy at hearing good news (in a good mood). Rather, mood refers to the individual being in despair and very sad (low in mood) or ecstatically happy and elated (high in mood).

Being in a good mood or being in a bad mood are common human emotions and we all have experienced them at one time or another. However, when there is an extreme tendency where a person’s mood is very low or very high for a prolonged time, then it might be due to diagnosable mental health problems. Mood disorders include depression, mania and bipolar disorder.


When an individual is in a very low mood they are termed as depressed. Signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Changes in appetite: the individual might eat more than usual or lose their appetite completely. This can result in weight gain or weight loss.
  • Sleep changes: the individual is likely to have trouble getting off to sleep or is waking in the early hours. In the morning they will not feel refreshed and will feel tired most of the day.
  • Feeling sad (crying a lot), without hope, and feeling guilty much of the time. Signs to other people include the individual seeming very negative in outlook and lacking motivation.
  • Feeling tired, overwhelmed and pressured, lying in bed and isolating oneself.


Mania is rare but does occur at times. Typically, a person who is in a manic state might display the opposite signs and symptoms to a depressed person.

  • The individual might be very active, or even overactive, so that they lose weight through missing meals or exercising excessively.
  • The individual might be seen by others as overenthusiastic, over joyful and ecstatic even if there is no obvious reason for such high emotions. At times it can result in recklessness and not considering the consequences of their actions properly.
  • The individual might complain that their thoughts are rushing so that they cannot concentrate on a task for very long and are easily distracted.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder used to be known as manic depression. Individuals who have bipolar disorder experience the highs of mania alternating with the lows of depression.