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Independent medical expert answers on psychiatry and psychology

Affect - The Observable Display of Feelings; Quarreling, Crying, Weeping, etc.

This page abstract: The display of subjective emotions such as fear, anger, joy.

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Independent medical expert answers on psychiatry and psychology

Affect - The Observable Display of Feelings; Quarreling, Crying, Weeping, etc.

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Question(s): 
Written by: Martin Winkler
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 23 Aug 2008.

What is affect?

Answer:

The word Affect is in psychology and psychiatry used to described observable behaviour that represents the expression of a subjectively experienced feeling state (emotion). Common examples of affect are
  • sadness,
  • fear,
  • joy,
  • anger.

The normal range of expressed affect varies considerably between different cultures and even within the same culture.

Types of affect include:

  • euthymic,
  • irritable,
  • constricted,
  • blunted,
  • flat,
  • inappropriate,
  • labile.

Euthymic mood would be considered as the "normal" stable mood without complaints.

Affective Disorders are mental health disorders with observable alteration of affect (mood). This would include Major Depression, Dysthymia / Cyclothymia, Bipolar disorder and Adjustment disorders and a broader category of depressive symptoms, which do not fit in the classical categories of mood disorders (Depressive disorders not otherwise specified).

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