Nosographic classification of mood disorders: from symptoms to diagnosis and treatment

Umberto Albert, Andrea Aguglia, Francesca Barbaro, Giuseppe Maina, Filippo Bogetto



Mood disorders represent a main health concern, due to their high prevalence in the general population and because they are related to a severe worsening of quality of life and psychosocial functioning of those who are affected. Because of the importance of such diseases, that, according to WHO, might become the major cause of morbidity by 2020, an efficacious, targeted and precise approach is essential in everyday clinical practice. This article reviews the methods of diagnostic approach, with the aim of describing the different phases of nosographic classification of mood disorders and their meaning. In particular, the most reliable classification distinguishes between unipolar (major depressive disorder) and bipolar (type I and II) disorders: the right differential diagnosis is important because there are great differences in the optimal management of these conditions (antidepressants vs. mood stabilizers) and diagnostic errors can potentially worsen the patient’s prognosis. In conclusion, the right nosographic classification allows the right therapeutic and prognostic approach. This may result in higher rates of remission and response, thus improving patient’s quality of life and overall wellness.


Mood disorders; Major depressive disorder; Bipolar disorder; Psychiatric diagnosis; Treatment

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