Depression and bipolar disorders are mental disorders, real physical illnesses that affect a person’s moods, thoughts, body, energy and emotions. Both disorders, especially bipolar disorder, tend to follow a cyclical course, meaning they have ups and downs.
- Mood disorders are characterized by marked disturbances in emotional state, which cause physical symptoms and affect thinking, social relationships, and behavior.
- Mood disorders may be unipolar or bipolar.
- People with dysthymic disorder have depressed mood for at least two years.
- Major depressive disorder involves at least one period with significant depressive symptoms.
- Bipolar disorders involve at least one period with manic symptoms and usually depressive periods as well.
- Biological influences on mood disorders include genes, the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin, and brain abnormalities.
- There is a two-way relationship between negative thinking and depression.
- Cognitive characteristics of depressed people include learned helplessness; a pessimistic worldview; hopelessness; a tendency to make internal, stable, global attributions; and a tendency to ruminate.
- There is a two-way relationship between social support and depression.
- Depression may be related to experiences of loss.
- The onset and course of mood disorders may be influenced by stress.