Mood Disorders

Clinical Psychology


  1. Constance Hammen PhD1,
  2. Danielle Keenan-Miller PhD2

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop208005

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Hammen, C. and Keenan-Miller, D. 2012. Mood Disorders. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 8:I:5.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of California, Department of Psychology, Los Angeles, CA, USA

  2. 2

    University of Southern California, Department of Psychology, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


Depressive syndromes and bipolar disorder are the two main forms of mood disorders. Unipolar depression occurs in many degrees of severity and chronicity, and implies considerable impairment to the self and disruption of typical roles and relationships. It is caused by a complex mixture of biological and psychosocial features, including genetic, neuroendocrine, neurocognitive, personality, stress, and behavioral variables. Depression is treatable by a variety of well-tested psychotherapies and medications, but recurrences are common. Bipolar disorder is considered to be a lifelong illness, manifesting presence of at least mild mania (hypomania), and the classic form of bipolar disorder, once called “manic depressive illness,” includes episodes of mania and major depression. Bipolar disorder has underlying biological causes yet to be discovered, although psychological and environmental factors play a role in the manifestations of its course. Mood stabilizer medications are the treatment of choice, and adjunctive psychotherapies have proven useful in managing the illness and its negative impact on the individual and family.


  • depression;
  • mania;
  • bipolar;
  • mood disorders