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mood disorder

One of a group of disorders involving severe and enduring disturbances in emotionality ranging from elation to severe depression.

major depressive episode

Most common and severe experience of depression, including feelings of worthlessness, disturbances in bodily activities such as sleep, loss of interest, and inability to experience pleasure, persisting at least 2 weeks.


Period of abnormally excessive elation or euphoria associated with some mood disorders.

manic episode

Period of abnormally elevated or irritable mood that may include inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, pressured speech, flight of ideas agitation, or self-destructive behavior.

hypomanic episode

Less severe and less disruptive version of a manic episode that is one of the criteria for several mood disorders.

mixed manic episode

Condition in which the individual experiences both elation and depression or anxiety at the same time. Also known as dysphoric manic episode.

major depressive disorder, single episode

Mood disorder involving one major depressive episode.

major depressive disorder, recurrent

Mood disorder involving multiple (separated by at least 2 months without depression) major depressive episodes.

dysthymic disorder

Mood disorder involving persistently depressed mood, with low self-esteem, withdrawal, pessimism, or despair, present for at least 2 years, with no absence of symptoms for more than 2 months.

double depression

Severe mood disorder typified by major depressive episodes superimposed over a background of dysthymic disorder.

pathological grief reaction

Extreme reaction to the death of a loved one that involves psychotic features, suicidal ideation, or severe loss of weight or energy or that persists more than 2 months. Also known as an impacted grief reaction.

bipolar II disorder

Alternation of major depressive episodes with hypomaniac episodes (not full manic episodes).

bipolar I disorder

Alternation of major depressive episodes with full manic episodes.

cyclothymic disorder

Chronic (at least 2 years) mood disorder characterized by alternating mood elevation and depression levels that are not as severe as manic or major depressive episodes.

seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Mood disorder involving a cycling of episodes corresponding to the seasons of the year, typically with depression occurring during the winter.


Hormone that affects the brain and is increasingly the focus of study in psychopathology.

depressive cognitive triad

Thinking errors by depressed people negatively focused in three areas: themselves, their immediate world, and their future.

electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

Biological treatment for severe, chronic depression involving the application of electrical impulses through the brain to produce seizures. The reasons for its effectiveness are unknown.

cognitive therapy

Treatment approach that involves identifying and altering negative thinking styles related to psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety and replacing them with more positive beliefs and attitudes - and, ultimately, more adaptive behavior and coping styles.

interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT)

Brief treatment approach that emphasizes resolution of interpersonal problems and stressors, such as role disputes in marital conflict, forming relationships in marriage, or a new job. It has demonstrated effectiveness for such problems as depression.

maintenance treatment

Combination of continued psychosocial treatment, medication, or both designed to prevent relapse following therapy.

suicidal attempt

Effort made to kill oneself.

suicidal ideation

Serious thoughts about committing suicide.

psychological autopsy

Postmortem psychological profile of a suicide victim constructed from interviews with people who knew the person before death.

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