Dysphoria could be defined as a sudden and transient state of mind, such as feelings of sadness, sorrow and anguish. It is a psychological condition accompanied by depression, melancholy and pessimism.

Dysphoria is generally characterized as an unpleasant or uncomfortable emotion such as sadness (depressed mood), anxiety, irritability or restlessness. Many authors consider dysphoria as the etymological opposite of euphoria and could be synthesized as:


  • Feeling of unpleasantness or discomfort
  • A mood of general dissatisfaction and restlessness
  • Occurs in depression and anxiety


dysphoria definition

It isn´t necessarily a disorder like schizophrenia or something else that would be identified as a mental illness, but it’s more of a state-of-being. Dysphoria refers only to a disorder of emotions and can be experienced in response to ordinary life events such as illness or a normal reacting process to a loss.

Dysphoria is usually experienced during depressive episodes, but people with bipolar disorder may also experience it during manic or hypomanic episodes.

The dysphoria in the context of an emotional disorder could be taken as an indicator of increased risk of suicide.

Some chemical substances such as opioids may induce dysphoria.

The following conditions have dysphoria as one of its main symptoms:

  • Clinical depression (unipolar disorder) and dysthymia
  • Premenstrual dysphoria also known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Personality disorders like borderline personality disorder and avoidant personality disorder
  • Withdrawal
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder
  • Gender identity disorder
  • Gender Dysphoria