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Dysphoria: Definition & Meaning

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  • 0:02 Definition of Dysphoria
  • 1:04 Types of Dysphoria
  • 3:17 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Quentin Shires

Quentin has taught psychology and other social science classes at the university level and is considered a doctoral colleague at Capella University.

In this lesson, you'll learn about dysphoria, its various manifestations, and how it accompanies both mental illness and medical conditions. Afterwards, you can test yourself on your new knowledge.

Definition of Dysphoria

Dysphoria is an emotional state that can follow a variety of mental illnesses or physical conditions. A person with dysphoria often experiences profound uneasiness and dissatisfaction with life, followed by depression, anxiety and agitation. Dysphoria is the opposite of euphoria. If you have ever felt euphoric, chances are you were experiencing feelings of bliss, happiness or joy. Dysphoria is exactly the opposite, throwing people into a void of mental discomfort and emotional suffering.

While it's not categorized as a mental illness itself, dysphoria is often experienced by people with various forms of mental illness, such as bipolar disorder. In other words, someone with a bipolar disorder may experience the dysphoric aspects of depression, anxiety, and dissatisfaction with life.

Types of Dysphoria

Dysphoric mania can occur in patients with mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder. Symptoms of dysphoric mania include feeling high and displaying extreme emotions on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. Some people with dysphoric mania experience auditory and visual hallucinations, confusion, strong sleeping cycles, extreme anger, and suicidal ideations accompanied by bouts of energy that are difficult to curtail.

Dysphoric depression is the opposite of dysphoric mania. This form of dysphoria is typically associated with people with withdrawn personalities that are experiencing major depressive episodes. Symptoms of dysphoric depression can include extreme fatigue, irritability, feelings of guilt and anxiety, and panic attacks. For example, you might have a friend who displays dysphoric depression if he or she is easily angered, dwells on guilty feelings and experiences extreme difficulty in sleeping.

There is also a medical condition called premenstrual dysphoric disorder that affects some women. Women with this condition can become extremely irritable during their menstrual cycles, experiencing feelings of rage that can even lead to urges to commit homicide or suicide. It's important to note that premenstrual dysphoric disorder is more than just premenstrual syndrome. It is a condition that must be treated by a doctor immediately.

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