Understanding the Biologically Adaptive Side of Mood Disorders: A Focus on Affective Temperaments

  • Xenia Gonda
  • Gustavo H. Vazquez


There is an expanding interest in the evolutionary aspects of psychiatric illnesses including affective disorders in an effort to understand why these conditions, which carry a disadvantage in terms of reproduction and adaptation, or why their frequency does not show a decrease from generation to generation and how these conditions do not tend gradually to disappear. Each of the affective phases has several advantageous characteristics enhancing fitness and adaptation as do affective disorders as well. However, mood disorders are complex and multifaceted which have a polygenic and multifactorial background; therefore decomposing them into more atomic characteristics aids the separation and better understanding of their adaptive aspects. Approaching affective illness from the aspect of affective temperaments helps this decomposition and also the understanding of how pathological symptoms may have their roots in adaptation to environmental and also social challenges. Such a perspective on affective disorders helps not only their better understanding, but also promises a differential approach to prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment, as well as reducing the stigma associated with these mental illnesses.


Affective Disorder Depressive State Social Rank Affective Illness Seasonal Affective Disorder 
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Copyright information

© Springer India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapySemmelweis UniversityBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Laboratory of Suicide Research and PreventionNational Institute for Psychiatry and AddictologyBudapestHungary
  3. 3.International Consortium for Bipolar and Psychotic Disorder ResearchMcLean HospitalBelmontUSA
  4. 4.Department of NeurosciencePalermo UniversityBuenos AiresArgentina

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