In any given year, about seven percent of Americans suffer from mood disorder.
Major Depressive Disorder
Major depressive disorder features one or more major depressive episodes each of which lasts at least two weeks. Since these episodes are also characteristic of bipolar disorder, the term “major depression” refers to both major depressive disorder and the depression of bipolar disorder.
Dysthymia is a chronic form of depression. Its early onset and unrelenting, “smoldering” course are among the features that distinguish it from major depressive disorder. Dysthymia becomes so intertwined with a person’s self-concept or personality that the individual may be misidentified as “neurotic” (resulting from unresolved early conflicts expressed through unconscious personality defenses or character disorders).
Bipolar disorder is a recurrent mood disorder featuring one or more episodes of mania or mixed episodes of mania and depression. Bipolar disorder is distinct from major depressive disorder by virtue of a history of manic or hypomanic (milder and not psychotic) episodes.
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