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Joseph H. Friedman

Clinical History

Anatomy of Mood, Emotion, and Thought

Chapter 3 - Mood, Emotion, and Thought

Limbic System


Temporal Lobe

Frontal Cortex

Subcortical Structures

Pharmacological Neuroanatomy

Examination of Mood, Emotion, and Thought

Directed Neurological Examination

Associated Neurological Findings

Associated Medical Findings

Evaluation Guidelines

Clinical Syndromes

Affective Disorder Syndromes

Pseudobulbar Palsy

Psychotic Syndromes Apathy Syndromes

Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Syndromes

Impulse Dyscontrol and Aggression Syndromes

Altered Sexuality Syndromes

General Management Goals

Affective Disorder Syndromes

Psychotic Syndromes

Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Syndromes Impulse Dyscontrol and Aggression Syndromes Reviews and Selected Updates References

Mood is defined as "the sustained internal emotional state of a person" [ii and is broadly divided into three realms: elevated, normal, or depressed. There are an enormous number of subclassifications within each of these subdivisions, and normal mood includes several gradations of elevation or depression. Affect generally refers to the external expression of emotional content and may coincide or be at odds with a patient's mood. The terms mood congruent and mood incongruent are used to describe these forms of emotional or affective expressions. Some authors use the term affect to describe a subject's emotional state at a particular instant, [2 but this is a more obscure usage. Two basic mood abnormalities, depression and mania, are recognized, and these occur on a continuum from normal to the clearly pathological. While minor symptoms may be an extension of normal sadness or elation, more severe symptoms are associated with discrete syndromes (affective disorders) that appear to differ qualitatively from normal processes. Depression is defined as a morbid sadness, dejection, or melancholy, whereas mania is a disordered mental state of extreme excitement. Both have accompanying emotional and cognitive and motoric features.

Emotional experience connotes the whole range of human feelings, including anxiety, fear, apathy, euphoria, depression, sadness, anger, and grief as well as how the person experiences these various feelings, which are not mutually exclusive. Thus, most individuals constantly experience a wide variety of feelings of variable intensities that vary over time. Emotional expression, or affect, may be mood congruent, accurately reflecting the person's inner state, or incongruent, when the subject appears to be very happy or sad but in fact feels quite the opposite. Emotional expression has an enormous range, which is obviously wider in some people than in others. This range may be normal, expanded, or restricted, allowing little chance for either happy or sad emotions to be displayed. When expansive, emotional expression is amplified at both ends of the mood spectrum. Flattened affect is a lack of emotional display, and labile affect is an emotional state that changes rapidly and is out of proportion to changes in the situation. It is important to note that emotional experience and emotional expression are quite different. One can appear to be emotionally detached and have little concern or interest in the situation, when in fact one is greatly moved. Such a discordance between apparent and true emotion may be highly adaptive in some situations and cultures and not at all pathological.

Other terms involved in disorders of emotion and mood include apathy, which is a lack of feeling or indifference. Abulia is a general behavioral slowing and lowered activity that may be associated with an inability or refusal to speak. Akinetic mutism is defined as the presence of a condition in which the patient appears awake and may follow the examiner with his or her eyes but lacks spontaneous motor and verbal responses. Anxiety is an uncomfortable and unjustified sense of apprehension that may be diffuse and unfocused and is often accompanied by physiological symptoms. An anxiety disorder connotes significant distress and dysfunction due to the anxiety. Fear can also produce the symptoms of anxiety, but, in contrast to anxiety, its cause is obvious and understandable.

Thought is in many ways unrelated to mood or emotions. Thought is evaluated in terms of the "process" or mechanics of thinking and also in terms of the content. In schizophrenia, one deals with "loosened" thought processes. Psychosis is a broad term defined variably in different places, but generally it implies a severe mental illness characterized by a loss of contact with reality leading to severe impairments in personal and social functioning. Psychosis is distinguished from delirium, in which there is an impairment of consciousness associated with an organic cause.

Hallucinations, hallucinosis, illusions, and delusions are terms that are frequently misused, leading to incorrect diagnoses, particularly by nonpsychiatrists. Hallucinations are false sensations that arise without a stimulus. Visual hallucinations appear real and are seen clearly in the light. They may be unformed like geometric shapes, or formed, simulating people, animals, or objects. Auditory hallucinations are sounds, such as voices or music, that are indistinguishable from real sounds. Hallucinosis refers to the presence of hallucinations in an otherwise normal mental state, without confusion, disorientation, or psychosis. Generally, hallucinations are experienced as real, whereas in hallucinosis the sensations are quickly interpreted as false. Hallucinations occur in every sensory realm, so that smells, taste, tactile sensations, and so on, may all occur. Illusion refers to an altered or misperceived sensation that is transformed, such as perceiving a lamp as a person. Delusion refers to a false and irrational belief that is unalterable by rational discourse. Typical delusions may include grandiosity, in which the patient believes he or she has great powers, or paranoia, in which the patient believes he or she is being followed. Hallucinations and delusions occur in a wide variety of psychoses including manic-depression and organic states.

Hallucinations and delusions are considered positive symptoms, meaning that they are extra or additional features superimposed upon normal behavior. This concept was pioneered by Hughlings Jackson, who considered positive symptoms a "release" phenomenon, in which inhibitory control is lost. [3] Other positive symptoms include bizarre behavior, pressured speech, and thought disorder. In contrast, negative symptoms refer to loss of affect, diminished thought, anhedonia (diminished interest and enjoyment), and diminished attention. Jackson attributed negative symptoms to a loss of neurons leading to a direct loss of function. [3]

Obsessive thoughts are unwanted and bothersome recurrent ideas, images, and impulses that intrude upon a patient and cannot be pushed out of consciousness. A compulsion is an irresistible need to perform an activity. Obsessions and compulsions usually go together. Rituals are a sequence of stereotyped behaviors that must be performed and often have a symbolic meaning.


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Eliminating Stress and Anxiety From Your Life

Eliminating Stress and Anxiety From Your Life

It seems like you hear it all the time from nearly every one you know I'm SO stressed out!? Pressures abound in this world today. Those pressures cause stress and anxiety, and often we are ill-equipped to deal with those stressors that trigger anxiety and other feelings that can make us sick. Literally, sick.

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