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Mood Instability Occurs in Wide Range of Mental Disorders

Mood Instability Occurs in Wide Range of Mental Disorders

A study shows that mood instability occurs in a wide range of mental disorders, not just depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorder.

Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London also found that mood instability was associated with poorer clinical outcomes.

Taken together, the study’s findings suggest that clinicians should screen for mood instability across all common mental health disorders, according to the researchers.

The study, which used an automated information extraction method to acquire data on mood instability from electronic health records, included almost 28,000 adults who presented to the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLaM) between April 2006 and March 2013 with a psychotic, affective or personality disorder.

The presence of mood instability within one month of presentation was identified using natural language processing (NLP), the researchers noted.

Mood instability was documented in 12 percent of the people presenting to mental health care services, the study found.

It was most frequently documented in people with bipolar disorder (23 percent), but was also common in people with personality disorders (18 percent) and schizophrenia (16 percent).

Mood instability was also associated with a greater number of days spent in the hospital, a higher frequency of hospitalization, greater likelihood of compulsory admission, and an increased likelihood of being prescribed antipsychotics or mood stabilizers.

“Mood instability can affect people with a wide range of mental disorders but the symptoms are not always recognized,” said Dr. Rashmi Patel, from the Department of Psychosis Studies at the IoPPN.

“We have developed an innovative text mining tool to identify the presence of mood instability in almost 28,000 people receiving mental health care in South London.

“We found that mood instability affects people with a wide range of common mental health disorders and is associated with worse clinical outcomes. Our findings highlight the importance of screening for mood instability and the need to develop better strategies to treat these symptoms.”

The study was published in BMJ Open.

Source: King’s College London

Mood Instability Occurs in Wide Range of Mental Disorders

Janice Wood

Janice Wood is a long-time writer and editor who began working at a daily newspaper before graduating from college. She has worked at a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites, covering everything from aviation to finance to healthcare.

APA Reference
Wood, J. (2018). Mood Instability Occurs in Wide Range of Mental Disorders. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 23 May 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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