Unipolar depression definition: Unipolar depression is a term that is used to refer to when a person changes from being depressed to being manic and vice versa. What separates it from depression is that unipolar depression concentrates on studying the lows of a person may have experienced. It is also called major depression and the most common characteristics of people suffering from unipolar depression are constant feelings of sadness or lack of interest in outside stimuli. What this means in return is that a person will separate themselves from others and will end up feeling even sadder.
Many studies have been carried out about the condition of unipolar depression. The numbers differ based on various factors such as gender and even age. A study that was conducted by The Journal of the American Medical Association shows that in the US alone, the condition affects 20-26% of women and 8-12 % in men. Many may argue this is not a huge number but it is a representation of some members of the society most of whom have failed to undergo treatment for their depression. It is clear from the statistics that women are more prone to be affected by depression as opposed to men. There are many reasons for this one of them being post-traumatic stress.
The median age of contract depression has been shown to be 32 years. This is according to a report that was released by the U.S Census Bureau in the year 2005. I am sure by now those numbers have increased significantly due to among other many factors the hard economic factors.
Other sections of the population that are more prone to depression are those living with HIV/AIDS, those who have suffered from heart attacks in the past and those who have been diagnosed with cancer. It is not all gloomy and there is good news for all those who are suffering or those who will be affected in the future. The National Institute of Health has made findings show that 80% of patients suffering from unipolar depression get their condition managed using the many different types of treatments that are available.
There are different reasons why unipolar depression occurs. We will try to look at some of them.
Genetics: is one of the greatest reasons why depression occurs in individuals. People who have come from a family with a history of people suffering from depression are at a higher chance of suffering themselves and the same can also be said for those without any predisposition to depression genes.
Changing of sleeping schedules: Sleeping is a very important activity as it helps our minds and the whole body to relax. Not sleeping deprives your body and mind of the most needed time to rejuvenate. You should not change your sleeping time as this will be sending mixed signals to your body. You will find it hard to sleep and this will be so bad for your mental health.
Other factors: including social factors such as when one loses a job, lack of a standing in the society.
Types of Unipolar Depression
There are different causes of unipolar depression and are caused by different factors and will, therefore, need a different approach in even treating. However, one of the most common pointers is lack of interest in what you initially had interest in. They last for the different amount of times. Some of the types include;
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) -As the name suggests, this is a type of unipolar depression that occurs at particular times in the year. It has been noted to affect people mostly during the winter when people do not go out more often due to the cold. Therapists treat this condition with light therapy.
Psychotic depression-this is characterized by believing or seeing things that are too far from reality. This mainly is common with people who have gone through depression in the past.
Postpartum depression- This is common in women who have just recently become new mothers. It is caused by hormonal imbalance in the woman. Women find it hard to deal with their changing body conditions and some wonder whether they will be able to raise the child as is expected of them. Parents who have adopted children can also suffer from this as they wonder whether they will be able to raise the child well.
Melancholic depression– patients who suffer from this type of unipolar depression exhibit the most adverse signs. They include massive weight loss and isolation which is dangerous as it can lead to committing suicide. Moodiness, feelings of unworthiness and social anxiety are also indicators of this type of depression.
Catatonic depression- this can be characterized by problems with motor coordination. The patient finds it difficult to move. The condition makes it even harder to be treated as it threatens the life of the person. The person will, therefore, find it hard to carry out their normal day to day activities.
Unipolar versus Bipolar Depression
There is a very thin line between unipolar and bipolar depression and we are going to look at it. The most common type of depression is bipolar depression. The difference between the two is that in unipolar depression, the patient only has lows while in bipolar depression, the patient experiences both highs and lows.
Symptoms of Unipolar Depression
If you have noted this signs and symptoms in your life lately or in the life of someone you know, it is best you visit a psychiatrist because this is pointers you are depressed. People suffering depression will not even note they are suffering. It takes someone to point it to them.
A lot of negativity.
Feeling exhausted all the time.
Rapid weight gain or loss.
Loss of focus.
Change in sleep patterns.
Alcohol and drug abuse.
Loss of energy.
Unipolar Depression Treatment
Based on the type and extent of your unipolar depression your psychiatrist can recommend different types of unipolar depression treatment. The type of treatment will also be determined by how your body reacts to it. The most common treatment for unipolar depression includes;
Anti-depressant drugs– this should not be bought on the counter but it is recommended you visit a qualified psychiatrist who will give you a prescription for the best drugs to use.
Psychotherapy- this is a good alternative to using anti-depressant drugs. This is done by having a one on one session with the patient and trying to get to the root of the problem. The psychiatrist works backward to help the patient understand where their problems started and come up with solutions by helping them understand it is not their fault this happened.
Electroconvulsive Therapy- there has been opposition to the use of this treatment but it has not been proved to cause problems. It has been found to be effective and very fast in treating unipolar depression. Patients who are acting out due to depression, those who are not reacting well to anti-depressant medicines find this treatment effective for them. The final decision as to whether to use this type of treatment will be made by the psychiatrist in consultation with the patient’s family.
Yoga- this is a long-term method of dealing with unipolar depression- it helps in replacing negative energy with positive thinking.
Increasing your creativity- patients should avoid staying idle as this will worsen their condition. They should engage in activities that interest them.
Walking- taking a walk in a park or forest as you take in fresh air and admire beautiful surroundings will help get rid of your negative thoughts and instead concentrate on the positive things happening around them.
Regular exercise- When you exercise, your body releases feel-good hormones which helps get rid of the feelings of unworthiness. It is also a good distraction to being idle and the patient will have less time for negative thoughts.
Unipolar Depression Test
After noticing you have symptoms of unipolar depression, then the next stage is to take a test to ascertain whether or not you are suffering from the condition. The test can be carried out online without the need of a qualified person. Just go online and answer a series of questions then you will get a score.
Unipolar depression is a condition that is becoming common by each passing day due to the changing economic pressures and subsequent pressures of life it brings. It is a serious condition that needs immediate attention because it can mean the difference between life and death. There is good news for patients. The condition is treatable and 80% of the population who have been treated have resumed back to their normal life. Visit your psychiatrist to advice you on the best mode of treatment.