5 affective disorders

Depression, bipolar disorder, cyclothymia, dysthymia, and seasonal depressive disorder are part of affective disorders. We discuss them here.

Last update: May 18, 2022

Worldwide, about 280 million people suffer from depression, one of the most common affective disorders. It is a picture that causes great discomfort and interferes with day-to-day life.

Let’s see what this disease is about and what are the other disorders that are also part of affectivity problems. Keep reading!

What are affective disorders?

Mood disorders are those that are linked to dysfunctional or extreme manifestations or expressions of moods. For this reason, they are also known as mood disorders.

That is, they are presented as obstacles to the daily life of a person, impacting interpersonal and work relationships. Therefore, they affect the complete health.

Many of these disorders have comorbidity, that is, they coexist with others. Hence the importance of paying attention to them and addressing them in time to prevent the situation from becoming more complex.



Some of the most frequent affective disorders are the following:

  1. Depressive disorder.
  2. Bipolar disorder.
  3. Dysthymia.
  4. Seasonal affective disorder.
  5. Cyclothymia.
The prevalence of depression in the world is alarming and several health institutions warn about its growth.

What factors influence affectivity disorders?

For this type of pathological conditions there is no single factor involved. It is a set of circumstances that include biological issues (an excess of cortisol over a long period of time), personal issues (not everyone has the same reaction threshold in the same circumstances), life experiences (for example, lifestyle parenting), social and cultural, among others.

Certain vital circumstances, such as going through a duel, can also explain the appearance of these disorders.

1. Depressive disorder

It is characterized by a feeling of sadness, emptiness and discouragement most of the time, loss of interest in things that used to cause pleasure, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, among other symptoms. There may also be body and sleep changes.

In some cases suicidal thoughts may occur. Depression, to be diagnosed as such, requires the permanence of symptoms for at least 2 weeks.

2. Bipolar disorder

As its name indicates, mood oscillates between two poles: that of mania and that of depression or melancholy. In the first case there is euphoria, excitement, an overly optimistic mood and accelerated thinking (tachypsychia). While manic episodes are ongoing, the person may engage in socially risky and inappropriate behavior.

In the second case it is about feeling discouraged, sad, without hope. There is a tendency to isolate, to sleep too much, to have little energy to carry out activities.

Clinically, based on its presentation, it is subdivided into bipolar I and II disorder. Type I is characterized by the presence of manic episodes. For its part, type II is distinguished by hypomania.



3. Dysthymia

Dysthymia is a more chronic and prolonged sad mood. For example, when the person reports that they feel this way “since my whole life”. Some of the symptoms are hopelessness, lack of energy, low self-esteem, insomniadifficulty making decisions, among others.

4. Seasonal affective disorder

Seasonal affective disorder is that anguish and sadness that arises and coincides with the change of season. By having fewer hours of sunlight in the day, it is suspected that there is an underlying biological element that explains it.

5. Cyclothymia

Cyclothymia has emotional ups and downs, but not all criteria are met to diagnose bipolar disorder. That is why this particular category has been created.

All these disorders are multifactorial and their origin cannot be summed up in a single cause.

Stop stigmatizing mental health problems

Timely approach to mood disorders has a good prognosissince through different treatments (psychotherapy and pharmacology) remarkable improvements can be obtained in people.

However, many do not ask for help, as there is a stigmatizing misconception about having depression or any other mental health disorder.

Many times, the interpretation made of these problems has the sole and exclusive focus on the sick subject. This person is the one who should be attended to, cared for and on whom all measures should fall. For this reason, it is necessary to advance in greater awareness and empathy to accompany.

From psychoeducation, banishing myths, it is possible to prevent and warn when we are in the presence of a major problem. We can also provide resources to patients so that they can have a good quality of life.

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