Mood Disorders Research

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in any given year, nearly 9.5 percent of Americans age 18 and older will have a mood disorder, such as major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, or bipolar disorder. Michael Young, professor at IIT College of Psychology, conducts research on mood disorders, with his current efforts addressing how the symptoms of depression lead to distress and impaired functioning. In one of his classes, Young’s undergraduate and graduate students completed a study to determine the accuracy of depressed individuals who reported their mood of the past week. Participants carried a personal digital assistant and were signaled seven times each day to complete a mood questionnaire. Their responses were compared to their reports at week’s end. “Contrary to some previous findings,” says Young, “the depressed people showed the same bias tendencies to report past moods as more intense than current mood in the same way as normal controls.”

Young, former director of the Depression/Awareness, Recognition, and Treatment Program at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, says that the initial results of his work indicate that the physiological and psychological symptoms of depression contribute differently to distress and impairment. “The results of this research hopefully will lead to interventions to reduce the suffering and increase the functioning of people who are depressed, either in addition to, or independent of, typical treatments for the disorder as a whole.”


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