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A colonist's mood is the sum total of the effects of their thoughts and traits. If a colonist's mood falls below their mental break threshold for a period of time, they may have a mental breakdown - with severities and 'frequency' depending on how far below their threshold they are.

Colonists have a base mood of 50%, and their mood threshold changes according to difficulties. Each difficulty has the following impacts on colonist mood:

Difficulty Mood Offset
Peaceful +10
Base builder +10
Some challenge +5
Rough 0
Intense −3
Extreme −8

With the offsets; it's reasonably easy to keep people from breaking on the Rough and Intense difficulties, but it's much more difficult to keep colonists from breaking on Extreme (as the baseline mood offset for Extreme is effectively Rough, but with colonists constantly having the 'Feeling Terrible' thought)

With a sufficiently high mood, Colonists will be more inclined to work harder if they are in high spirits; with global work speed starting to improve when they are 'Content' (mood at or above 60%), with as much as a 20% increase in global work speed if their mood is at 100%. Colonists retain their full work speed if in poor moods.

As of Alpha 15 (August 28st, 2016), mood is subtly drawn behind the pawn on the colonist bar at the top of the screen.

Mental Breakdowns

A mental breakdown may occur randomly when a colonist's negative thoughts outweigh their positive thoughts enough to push their overall mood below their mental break threshold. The severity of a mental break depends on how far below their threshold they are. Once a colonist composes themselves and brings themselves out of their broken frame of mind; they'll get the 'catharsis' thought, granting a +20 mood for the next 2 days. This will generally prevent a colonist from entering a spiral of mental breakdowns in all but the worst of the worst scenarios.

Mental break thresholds are affected by various traits, however the net break threshold reduction can never be above 4%- i.e. there will always be a chance for your colonist to have an extreme mental break at 1% mood or below.

The default mental break thresholds are:

  • Extreme break threshold: 5%
  • Major break threshold: 20%
  • Minor break threshold: 35%

While a colonist is experiencing a mental break, you have no direct physical control over them - but you can draft another colonist, right click on the broken colonist, and attempt to arrest said colonist. The broken colonist will either go berserk, or they'll come quietly and be escorted to the nearest available prison bed - immediately ending their mental breakdown afterwards. You can then open their 'Prisoner' tab and set them for release, and then anybody assigned to wardening will 'release' the broken colonist back into your colony. However: this eliminates the catharsis bonus, and instead yields a 'was imprisoned' negative thought that can lead to further mental breaks.

Another more extreme way of ending a mental break is beating the colonist with blunt trauma until they are incapacitated by pain. This is the only way to stop a colonist going berserk, and still grants the Catharsis buff. However, this causes the victim to have a negative opinion of the one(s) who beat him up, and you risk killing the colonist if he is already injured, or more than 1 colonist is beating up the colonist at once. It is ineffective if the colonist feels reduced pain, like those with the Painstopper implant or high on Go-juice.

The following is a list of all possible mental breakdowns a colonist may experience at appropriate severities as of Alpha 16, and the durations they can last (1 day is 60,000 ticks):

Minor break

Food Binge

If a colonist is stressed, they may decide to pig out on whatever meals they can get their hands on. During this time, you have absolutely no control over the affected pawn other than getting another pawn to arrest them - which could cause the binging pawn to go berserk.

A binge will end as soon as the affected colonist gets back to bed, or after a certain amount of time has passed.

Hide in room

Colonists who hide in their room will wander about in their room, refusing to come out and refusing to satisfy their needs. This event is relatively short (but is also still capable of lasting multiple days) and - barring insect hives - does not put the colonist in harms way. The worst that one can come off with from this sort of mental break is mild starvation and possibly exhaustion.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.6 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 30,000 ticks (500 secs)
Maximum time until Recovery: 60,000 ticks (1,000 secs)

Sad wander

Like the dazed and wandering event, but shorter.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.3 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 30,000 ticks (500 secs)
Maximum time until Recovery: 60,000 ticks (1,000 secs)


Wake-up binge.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.3 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 20,000 ticks (333.33 secs)
Maximum time until Recovery: 40,000 ticks (666.67 secs)

Major break

Psychotic Wandering (Daze)

Colonists who become dazed will wander around and will eventually recover on their own. Dazed colonists can also be arrested, which can be useful if they are in imminent danger. Your colonist must be drafted (hotkey R) to bring a dazed colonist to a cell (just like a prisoner). Once imprisoned they may immediately be set for release. When released by a warden they will revert from a prisoner back to a colonist, with a mood debuff. Dazed colonists may resist arrest, at which point they will go berserk.

Prior to Alpha 16, dazed colonists will gradually strip off their clothing, weapons and inventory.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.8 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 30,000 ticks (500 secs)
Maximum time until Recovery: 80,000 ticks (1,333.33 secs)

Social Drug Binge

If a colonist gets very stressed, they may drink or smoke their problems away by binging on social drugs (i.e. beer, smokeleaf joints. Do note that this type of mental break can only happen if you have social drugs present in your colony, otherwise colonists that are very stressed will only go into a state of psychotic wandering.

Social drug binges will also occasionally happen for those with the chemical interest trait regardless of mood, and still gain the catharsis thought afterwards.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.6 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 20,000 ticks (333.33 secs)
Maximum time until Recovery: 60,000 ticks (1,000 secs)

Extreme break


When a colonist goes berserk, they become a danger to themselves and anyone nearby. They may use doors that are locked/forbidden. Berserkers don't close doors behind them, auto-doors included. Doors they open will remain open until another pawn passes through. They will melee attack the nearest living creature until their target is either subdued or killed. Due to the risk of death or permanent injury for both the psychotic colonist and any that happen to be nearby, a psychotic colonist is a very real threat. If the berserk colonist poses or is in direct danger, a colonist with bare fists or a blunt weapon works best to quickly subdue them with the least risk of killing them. Once a berserk colonist is subdued they do not need to be arrested, rather they can and should be rescued to recover from their injuries.

If the berserker is not in danger and can be safely avoided, it's best to leave them to rampage by themselves until their berserk rage wears off to avoid injuries and the associated pain mood debuff.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.3 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 10,000 ticks (166.67 secs)
Maximum time until Recovery: 60,000 ticks (1,000 secs)

Fire-Starting Spree

Colonists with the pyromaniac trait can go on a fire-starting spree, targeting flammable materials. Their mental breaks occur regardless of mood (though will happen less frequently as mood increases) and will get the Catharsis thought afterwards, even if well above their minor break threshold. Fire-starting sprees are very short and can easily be dealt with by having somebody else 'babysit' the pyromaniac.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.1 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 4,000 ticks (66.67 secs)
Maximum time until Recovery: 15,000 ticks (250 secs)

Hard Drug Binge

Colonists on a hard binge will binge on hard drugs (i.e. psychite (flake and yayo), go-juice and wake-up). Hard drug binges are considerably more dangerous for the affected colonist's health than soft drug binges, as hard drugs contribute towards overdoses which are potentially lethal. As with soft binges: hard binges will either end when the affected colonist goes back to bed, or after a certain amount of time has passed. Colonists taking penoxycyline and luciferium have nothing to do with the drug binge they are on.

Colonists with the chemical fascination trait will occasionally have a hard drug binge regardless of mood, and still gain the catharsis mood afterwards (if they don't die from an overdose).

Mean time between Recovery: 0.6 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 20,000 ticks (333.33 secs)
Maximum time until Recovery: 60,000 ticks (1,000 secs)


These mental states aren't mood-related, and have certain circumstances required to trigger them.

Confused Wandering

Similar to the 'Sad Wandering' mental state, except confused wandering only occurs on a pawn with Alzheimer's and/or Dementia. This mental state bears a similarity to psychotic wandering in the respect that confused pawns are prone to wandering into dangerous situations, they do not strip off their equipment. This mental state ends after a certain period of time, or when the affected pawn is downed or killed. All normal thoughts are blocked during this time frame.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.2 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 3,500 ticks (58.33 secs)

Social Fighting

Social fighting is triggered when one pawn slights or insults another (significantly more likely with insulting than slighting), and the affected pawn gets angered. While very brief and usually only resulting in minor-moderate injury, social fighting can also end up with much worse results including a pawn getting downed, disfigured, or uncommonly even outright killed. Social fighting ends after a very short time, or when one of the fighting pawns gets downed or killed. If anyone else has the following let me me know just in case it's my mods. I had found that when a pawn said nice words to another pawn (who was rivals with the pawn who said nice words), a social fight was started. It may be that social fights can be started with rivals no matter what is said.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.02 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 420 ticks (7 secs)

Panic Fleeing

This sort of mental break happens when half (rounded up) of a group of non-colonist humanlikes are killed; whether it be hostiles, traders, or the likes. Pawns affected by this mental state will attempt to leave the map by any means possible as soon as they realise that they're not going to win whatever battle they got caught up in.

This mental state will end once the affected pawn leaves the map, or when they're killed.

Pawns in this state will run indiscriminately towards the closest edge of the map, completely disregarding any hostiles in the way (such as your colonists firing at them).

Given up and leaving

This mental break only happens with friendly fighters in-game, where they will be fed up and leave if they do not engage in fighting. Pawns affected will slowly walk towards the edges of the map.

It ends when the pawn leaves the map, or is killed.


Animals may suffer a manhunter mental break, similar to berserk. A manhunter animal will seek out and attack any humans on the map it can reach. The mental break can be triggered by the death of their bonded master (only applies to tamed animals), via a random event (mad animal or psychic wave), being injured by any humanlike pawn or a failed taming attempt angering the animal. A player should take care about what animals they hunt, because although most species rarely turn manhunter, others have no tolerance. If one animal in a herd is angered, the entire herd may turn manhunter. Since alpha 14, manhunter animals will attempt to break down structures and doors, so colonists are not safe behind them.

An animal's manhunting rampage will end after a certain amount of time, or once forcibly subdued.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.3 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 10,000 ticks (166.67 secs)

Manhunter Permanent

Permanent manhunter is randomly applied to animals that are part of a manhunter pack. Affected animals will never snap out of this mental state under normal circumstances, and completely neglect their own needs. Animals in this state will generally leave the area within a few days.

Some manhunter animals, such as boomrats, will typically starve to death due to their hunger rate combined with the typical manhunter animal duration.

Mean time between Recovery: 0.3 days
Minimum time until Recovery: 99,999,999 ticks (1,666,666.65 secs)


The following images document our Volunteer and 'Break Savant' Stingray's decline of sanity as she undergoes a journey not of the physical kind, but of mentality:

Sad Wander Hide in Room Food Binge Social Drug Binge Daze Hard Drug Binge Berserk

Mood is a Stat: How happy or stressed someone is.