Mood disorders are characterized by a serious change in mood that cause disruption to life activities. Though many different subtypes are recognized, three major states of mood disorders exist: depressive, manic, and bipolar. Major depressive disorder is characterized by overall depressed mood. Elevated moods are characterized by mania or hypomania. The cycling between both depressed and manic moods is characteristic of bipolar mood disorders. In addition to type and subtype of mood, these disorders also vary in intensity and severity. For example, dysthymic disorder is a lesser form of major depression and cyclothymic disorder is recognized as a similar, but less severe form of bipolar disorder.