Individuals with mood disorders usually display mood swings ranging from depression to euphoria or agitation. Major categories of mood disorders include major depression and bipolar disorder. People who experience depression may display changes in mood, diet or sleeping patterns while individuals with bipolar disorder may be depressed at one time and manic shortly thereafter. The causes of mood disorders are many. For example Beck (1967) theorizes that mood disorders are caused by negative thoughts that shape the individuals experiences while Bradley (1996) maintains they are caused by self-defeating thoughts and negative expectations about the future.
Mood disorders are psychiatric illnesses characterized by dysfunctional mood patterns. People suffering from mood disorders may have any number of ailments, including depression, bipolar disorder, or, some researchers are concluding, borderline personality disorder. These disorders are perceived by the public as mental health issues that must somehow be brought on by a weakness in the individual, but are in fact, as biological as heart disease or a birth defect.
A founder of psychiatric diagnoses, Emil Kraepelin, reported mood disorder in children when he published “Manic-Depressive Insanity and Paranoia,” in 1921. In the 1930’s, Freudian psychoanalytic theory took a stronghold on the United States, and eliminated the possibility, in the minds of the psychoanalysts, that mood disorders could exist in children. It wasn’t until 1975 during the National Institute Mental Health Conference on Depression in Childhood that depression was acknowledged as an issue in children’s mental health. The issue of mania was still untouched, until a study in 1960, by E. James Anthony and Peter Scott described manic-depression in children. Unfortunately, these researchers set criteria for the illness that were so stringent that no cases actually fit their definition. For instance, one criteria was that mania did not exist unless it was so severe that inpatient treatment, heavy sedation, or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) was warranted. The Papalos’ explain that, “they went even further: they reviewed the literature of reported cases of mania in children between the years 1884 and 1954, and, applying their criteria, they uncovered only twenty-eight cases of alleged manic-depression in young children”. This single study dealt a heavy blow to the chances of suffering children receiving a correct diagnosis.