Mood disorders

The term mood disorder refers to a range of conditions in which a disturbance of mood is the central feature. Most of us experience low moods as the natural consequences of loss or disappointment and a common response to success or achievement is an elevated mood. In a mood disorder the mood may be abnormally lowered as in depression or abnormally elevated as in mania. In psychiatry we need to distinguish between these natural “lows” and “highs” and pathological mood states. This can create confusion in both terminology and diagnosis.


Mood disorders handout (.pdf)
Andrew Solomon interview (audio only)

Link to Blog posts featuring depression

Internal video resources
“I’m raising money for the babies…” – mania

“Everything is black…” – severe depression with psychotic features

“I’m a reasonable man but…” – a fairly long video of a challenging interview of a man with depression and irritability

Nihilistic delusions

External links
— The BMJ have a couple of resources; one for adults and one for children
— The Royal College of Psychiatrists have a number of podcasts on mood disorders. This one discusses the dilemmas around the diagnosis of depression whilst another covers attributional style and depression and another discusses emotional memory in bipolar disorder
— Leaflets from the Royal College of Psychiatrists on depression and bipolar disorder
— Wikipedia article on mood disorders

A clip on YouTube entitled “Fighting Depression”, produced by National Institutes of Health in the US. It features a first person narrative describing one person’s experience with depression, and depicts people of various ages dealing with the different symptoms of the illness.


Another programme, produced by ABC entitled “Beating the Black Dog” (‘Black dog’ was what Churchill famously called his depression) with a clip on YouTube and a full film (45 mins) which requires rental to see.

“One in five of us suffers from depression. For some, the ‘Black Dog’ takes on terrifying dimensions. For those with bi-polar disorder, or manic depression, the fug can descend into psychosis, alcoholism or even split personality disorders. This documentary highlights some of the more alarming sides of depression and how it affects the sufferers and their families. ‘Black Dog…’ is a moving, empathetic dissection of the mental illness that afflicts so many of those around us.”


Note that the use of the term ‘split-personality’ does not refer to a valid clinical entity.