General characteristics of mood disorders: mood disorders: involve disabling disturbances in emotion, from the sadness of depression to the elation and irritability of mania. Mood disorders are often associated with other psychological problems, such as panic attacks, substance abuse, sexual dysfunction, and personality disorders. Depression: signs and symptoms: as illustrated by the case of john bentley mays, depression is an emotional state marked by great sadness and feelings of worthlessness and guilt. In older adults, depression is often characterized by distractibility and complaints of memory loss: psychologizers: people who emphasize the psychological aspects of depression. Mania: signs and symptoms: mania: is an emotional state or mood on intense but unfound elation accompanied by irritability, hyperactivity, talkativeness, flight of ideas, distractibility, and impractical, grandiose plans, the individual shifts rapidly from topic to topic. Formal diagnosis listing of mood disorders: two major mood disorders listed in dsm-iv-tr: major depression, also referred to as unipolar depression, and bipolar disorder.