What Qualifies As A Mood Disorder?

What Qualifies As A Mood Disorder?

An example of mood disorder is major depressive disorder. Mood disorder is a medical condition characterized by an altered mood. However, to qualify for a mood disorder, the condition should have certain specific symptoms which are outlined by DSM.


Mood disorder is a mental illness related to the altered mood of the patient. It is characterized by chronic changes in emotional behavior.

DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which provides information about the symptoms and diagnostic criteria for various mental disorders. The current edition in practice is the fifth edition which was updated in 2013. DSM is widely accepted in various countries and is published by the American Psychiatrist Association.

The prior edition was DSM IV-TR which was published in 2000. The new edition has seen various changes as compared to the previous edition. Various diagnostic measures and symptoms have been updated and the criteria are widened to sift the disorder from unspecific to specific. DSM provides the symptoms on the basis of which a mental disorder is classified.

The diagnosis of major or clinical depression, mania, and bipolar depression are done on the basis of various symptoms provided in the DSM. As various mental disorders are having overlapping symptoms, DSM tries to separate or differentiate different mental disorders to have a proper diagnosis and then strategize the treatment.

Qualification Of Major Depression

DSM provides various symptoms as a criterion for the diagnosis of major depression. Out of 8 symptom outlines, the patient should have simultaneously at least 5 symptoms in a period of 2 weeks, out of which one symptom must be either depression or loss of interest or pleasure. Following are the various symptoms that qualify the condition as major depression:

Depressed Mood. The patient should have a depressed mood during the day approximately every day.

Loss Of Interest Or Pleasure. The patient should have lost his interest or pleasure in those activities which he enjoys prior to the condition.

Weight Loss. There should be a loss of appetite nearly every day and the patient should have unexplained or unintended weight loss.

Reduced Physical Movement. The patient has a restlessness and reduced physical movement which should be observed by others.

Fatigue. The patient should have a feeling of weakness or reduced energy in the condition related to major depression.

Feeling Of Worthlessness. The patient has a feeling of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt.

Reduced Mental Capacity. The patient, to qualify for major depression, has a reduced mental ability. The ability of the patient in concentrating or focusing and taking a logical decision is significantly reduced.

Suicidal Thoughts. The patient with the condition of clinical depression have suicidal thoughts and ideation without any plan or have attempted suicide or having a plan for committing suicide.

Qualification Of Manic

The criteria for manic, according to DSM, are as follows:

  • A distinct period of elevated, expansive or irritable mood that lasts for at least one week.
  • During such period, three or more of the below symptoms at an identifiable degree.
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Decreased sleep
  • More talkative
  • The reduced concentration of distractibility
  • Increase in goal-oriented activity
  • Excessive involvement in risky activities that may cause painful experiences.
  • The symptoms differ from the qualification of mixed episodes.

Qualification Of Bipolar Disorder

Following are the symptoms, explained by DSM, to qualify a condition as bipolar disorder:

  • Presence of at least 1 manic episode or mixed episode and optionally the manic episode may be followed with the depressed episode.
  • Criteria similar to the manic disorder
  • Marked impairment which is not due to a substance or medical condition
  • The symptoms should cause functional impairment.
  • The symptoms should not be due to substance misuse, general medical condition and or due to antidepressant therapy.


To differentiate between major depression, mania, and bipolar disorder mood disorders, the symptoms are categorically differentiated by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a manual published by the American Psychiatrist Association.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 25, 2019

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