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Understanding Depression

Mood disorders are common across all age groups, cultures and societies. Individuals suffering from episodes of depression are classified as having unipolar mood disorder, while those alternating between episodes of depression and mania and are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Mood disorders present with a variety of cognitive, affective and behavioral symptoms and are correlated with an increased risk of suicide.


Although the precise cause of mood disorders remains unknown, researchers have identified possible risk factors that include biological, psycho-social, interpersonal and socio-cultural variables. In worldwide clinical practice, the classification of mood disorders relies on criteria delineated in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), published in 2013 by American Psychiatric Association.


In order to arrive at a precise diagnosis and a suitable treatment plan for each patient, the cognitive, behavioral, emotional and somatic symptoms of mood disorders must be assessed by a health practitioner. Depending on the circumstances of each case, the treatment could involve psychotherapy, medication or both. Lifestyle changes, social support and psycho-education about mental health can also be useful in preventing the occurrence and/or recurrence of a mood disorder.

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