Game of Emotions

Mood disorders impact everyone but they can affect women and men differently. Women tend to be inflicted with major depressive disorders more often than men, but both are equally affected by bipolar disorders. 50% of mental health issue cases begin at the age of 14, while 75% of cases start at 24.3 These are startling numbers when you consider 39% of all college students suffer from a mental health issue, 41.6% of college students suffer from anxiety, additionally, 36.4% of college students suffer from depression.3 The structure of mood disorders refers to the frequency and reoccurrence of manic or depressive episodes. Furthermore, it looks at whether the emotional episodes happen consecutively or alternately. There are three categories of mood disorders defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5): Unipolar, Bipolar, and Mixed Features. They are all similar but provide a way for psychologists to categorize mood disorders and try to understand why the episodes occur.1

(Common words or feelings used to describe mood disorders)4

  1. Unipolar Mood Disorder is when all the person’s emotions lie on one side of the “pole”. They would suffer from either depression or manic episodes. Although depression alone is common, very rarely does only mania impact an individual. For a person to suffer from a unipolar mood disorder they would experience only one of the emotions (depression or mania). 1, 2
  2. Bipolar Mood Disorder refers to instabilities of emotions, meaning the patient would alternate between depressive and manic episodes. What is important about the structure is how often do they fluctuate and how severe are these episodes when they occur. The emotions must only occur one at a time and cannot occur consecutively.1, 2
  3. When a patient suffers from an episode with both emotions at the same time, they suffer from Mixed Features. Mixed features diagnosis is very rare but still can occur. Someone affected will have manic episodes with depression symptoms as well or vice versa.1, 2

(Mood disorders can make someone feel as if they are not in control of themselves and even hopeless.)5



It is recommended if you feel like you suffer from any mood disorders that you should go seek treatment. The use of medication and cognitive therapy simultaneously is most popular, but it is important to find what works best for you. Another important aspect of treatment for mood disorders is preventing a relapse, psychologists or cognitive therapists would try to teach coping techniques to those who suffer or have suffered.1


Written by Tyler Stoklosa


(Reviewed and Edited by Dr. Juras and Kaeli O’Donnell)




  1. Barlow, D. H., & Durand, M. V. (2015). Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
  2. College students’ mental health is a growing concern, survey finds. (2013, June). Retrieved from American Psycological Association:
  3. Defining Depression and Bipolar Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved from Standfor Med: Mood Disorders Center: