Affective disorders, also known as mood disorders, are a category of mental health conditions that involve persistent changes in mood and emotion. These disorders can range from mild to severe and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.
There are several types of affective disorders, including:
- Major depressive disorder: This is a serious and often debilitating condition characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. It can also cause physical symptoms such as changes in appetite and sleep patterns, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
- Bipolar disorder: This disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings, with periods of mania (elevated or irritable mood) and periods of depression. During a manic episode, a person may have an inflated sense of self-importance, decreased need for sleep, and engage in risky or reckless behavior.
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): This type of depression occurs during the fall and winter months when there is less natural sunlight. Symptoms may include lethargy, difficulty concentrating, and changes in appetite and sleep patterns.
- Cyclothymic disorder: This is a milder form of bipolar disorder characterized by frequent mood swings, but with less severe symptoms.
Affective disorders can be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. They are often treated with a combination of medication (such as antidepressants or mood stabilizers) and therapy (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy).