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What Is a Dysphoric Mood?

Anxiety is an example of a dysphoric mood.
Sadness is a characteristic of a dysphoric mood.
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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 19 March 2014
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A person suffering from a dysphoric mood, or dysphoria, is afflicted with a general feeling of unhappiness. His or her emotional state is characterized by one or many of the emotions generally considered negative, including sadness, anxiety, restlessness, and irritability. This condition can include a variety of emotions, so the experience can vary from one person to the next. It can also range in intensity, from relatively mild feelings to severe, overwhelming emotions. An acute episode may completely overwhelm the sufferer to the point where his or her daily activities and social interactions are impacted.

The causes of dysphoric moods can vary widely as well. It may simply be a normal emotional response to stressful environmental factors and be fairly short-lived. Alternately, it can be the result of a physical issue in the body; hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can induce a dysphoric emotional state, for example. Sometimes, it is the side effect of a drug.

Many psychiatric conditions, including clinical depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and personality disorders, list dysphoria as a symptom. A major concern when dealing with many of these conditions in conjunction with a dysphoric mood is the possibility of suicide. In disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder, where the sufferers have intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despair, they may have suicidal thoughts.

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Another factor in psychiatric conditions are psychotic episodes, which is when sufferers lose touch with reality. These may include hallucinations, delusions, and an overall skewed view of reality. Mood can greatly impact how people experience psychotic episodes; therefore, someone with dysphoria might tend to have delusions that reflect ideas of persecution, paranoia, or self-loathing.

Hormones can also play a factor. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) are both often characterized by negative feelings that occur around the onset of menstruation. It is theorized that sufferers have excessive reactions to the normal hormonal changes that occur in the body during the mentstual cycle.

Approaches to alleviating a dysphoric mood usually depend on the underlying cause. A diabetic having a hypoglycemic episode needs to get his or her blood glucose levels back to normal by eating something containing sugar. A woman with symptoms of PMDD may address her negative emotions with changes in diet, exercise, stress-reduction techniques, or certain medications. Psychiatric conditions can often be treated by a variety of drugs in combination with therapy.

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Discuss this Article

rjh
Post 3

@softener - I've posted on several depression forums, but I think that the best ones are those local to your area or specific to an age group/other demographic. I'd just hit up google and see what you can find that fits.

softener
Post 2

If you think you might be suffering from a dysphoric mood, it might do you some good to check some depression forums online and see if you identify with any of the people there and if so ask some questions.

Could anyone tell me how I can find a good one?

goldenmist
Post 1

In my experience, people suffering from symptoms like dysphoria usually also suffer from something called anhedonia, which is basically a psychiatric term for the inability to feel pleasure. If you find you're feeling down all the time and don't get the same enjoyment out of things as you used to, you might need to see a doctor. These can be serious signs of mood disorders.

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