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Almost everyone experiences at least brief periods of sadness, feeling “down”, or being energetic and upbeat at various points in their lifetime. That’s just part of being human. However, there’s a significant portion of the population that has disturbances in their mood that are not considered normal. Individuals in this group have what is clinically referred to as a “mood disorder”.

Mood disorders are characterised by a significant disturbance in a person’s persistent emotional state or mood. While many people use the term "mood" to simply refer to their feelings at any given moment (e.g. “I’m in a happy mood”), mental health professionals use it a bit differently. In clinical settings, it is used to describe a persistent emotional state that affects how the person sees the world.  

Mood disorders can significantly disrupt people’s lives in one or more ways. They may impair their ability to function normally at work or in their social life, or negatively impact their relationships. 

The two primary types of moods are depression and mania. Thus, most mood disorders fall under the broad categories of depressive disorders and bipolar disorders (formerly known as "manic depressive" disorders)

In a 2007 survey conducted in Australia, it was found that mood disorders affected 6.2% of people aged 16-85 years (7.1% of women and 5.3% of men).