What to know about unipolar depression

Major depressive disorder is also known as unipolar depression. The term “unipolar depression” refers to a type of depression that does not cycle through other mental states like mania. Bipolar disorders, on the other hand, cause in times of both depression and mania.

Unipolar depression, on the other hand, does not imply that a person is always depressed. People who suffer from major depressive disorder may go through periods of remission followed by periods of depression relapse. They may also feel better when their circumstances change, especially if they have atypical depression, a kind of major depressive disorder.

One of the most prevalent mental health diagnoses is unipolar depression. It can cause physical symptoms as well as substantial trouble managing everyday tasks and relationships, in addition to a melancholy or gloomy mood. In the United States, 7.8% of all people had at least one major depressive episode in 2019.

Continue reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for unipolar depression.

What is unipolar depression? 

unipolar depression

Major depressive disorder is also known as unipolar depression. This mental condition has an impact on both mental and physical health.

The following are the diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder:

At least five of the following symptoms must be present:

  • Concentration issues: A person may find it difficult to concentrate, pay attention, or think coherently. It’s possible that some people will have cognitive fog.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide: An individual may experience intrusive thoughts of death, self-harm, or suicide.
  • Depressed mood: On most days, a person feels sad or depressed for the most of the day. They can be feeling empty, hopeless, melancholy, or unsure about the future. These symptoms can appear in youngsters as behavioral difficulties or irritability.
  • Loss of pleasure: Activities that a person used to enjoy may now provide little or no pleasure.
    Weight or appetite changes:. Without attempting to gain or lose weight, a person may gain or lose 5% or more of their body weight, or suffer changes in appetite, such as eating too much or too little.
  • Sleeping issue: A person may sleep excessively or insufficiently.
  • Fatigue: When a person is physically and emotionally weary, it might affect their motivation and ability to complete everyday chores.

Only if a person’s depression symptoms are not caused by bipolar disorder or another medical condition will they be diagnosed. Their symptoms must be distressing and not be the result of medication or a physical ailment. They must also have never gone through a manic episode.

Secondary symptoms can cause as a result of depression’s symptoms, such as:

  • trouble studying or excelling at school
  • difficulties with self-care
  • trouble getting or keeping a job
  • relationship conflict

People who are depressed have a distorted vision of the world, which can affect how they think and feel about other people and themselves. Interpersonal difficulties, low self-esteem, rejection sensitivity, and other issues may arise as a result.

Causes

Major depressive illness is a multifaceted condition with genetic, psychological, social, and interpersonal causes. Depression is caused by the interaction of several factors. For example, a person may have a genetic predisposition to depression, which is subsequently activated by trauma or stress, resulting in symptoms.

Researchers aren’t sure what causes sadness, but they do know that changes in brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters play a part. Antidepressants work by affecting brain chemicals including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, implying that these chemicals play a role in mood.

The following are some of the risk factors for developing unipolar depression:

  • some medical conditions, including thyroid disorders
  • family history of depression
  • trauma and adverse childhood experiences

How does it differ from other forms of depression?

The main distinction between unipolar depression and bipolar depression is that a person with unipolar depression simply has depression rather than the cycles of depression and mania that bipolar illness, or bipolar depression, is known for.

People who suffer from bipolar depression have bouts of depression comparable to those who suffer from major depressive illness, but they also have moments of mania, when their mood is extremely elevated. A person may be unusually happy during manic episodes. They could make rash or hazardous judgments, such as overspending money.

People who suffer from unipolar depression are not constantly depressed. Some people may look to be cheerful, act to be happy, or have periods when their depressive symptoms improve.

Atypical depression, a subtype of major depressive illness, is more likely to be persistent. It does, however, respond better to changes in circumstances, which means that when a person’s position improves, they may be happy and have less symptoms. This is not to be confused with the mood cycling seen in bipolar depression.

Depression does not always take the form of major depressive disorder. Other types of unipolar depression that don’t entail manic episodes include:

  • Postpartum depression: Following the birth of a child, this type of depression develops.
  • Seasonal affective disorder: This sort of seasonal depression is more common in the winter.
  • Persistent depressive disorder: The symptoms of this chronic form of depression are usually milder than those of major depressive disorder.
  • Psychotic depression: A person suffering from this sort of depression causes psychotic ideas. Delusions and hallucinations are examples of psychotic beliefs that are divorced from reality.

Symptoms

A low and depressed mood is a symptom of major depression. A person’s perception of the world may be largely negative, resulting in cognitive distortions that negatively impact their relationships, work, and school performance.

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of depression:

  • unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • low energy
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • feeling hopeless about the future
  • being unable to get pleasure from hobbies, relationships, or other previously enjoyed activities
  • trouble thinking clearly or making decisions
  • slowed movements or speech
  • feeling restless or pacing
  • brain fog
  • thoughts of self-harm or suicide
  • eating too much or too little

Secondary difficulties, such as unemployment or low school performance, might cause as a result of depression symptoms.

Treatment

Antidepressants come in a variety of forms, with the best option dependent on a number of criteria. These are some of them:

  • the subtype of major depression
  • the side effects the person feels they can tolerate
  • the person’s overall health

Before getting relief from their symptoms, a person may need to take many drugs or different dosages of the same prescription. Working with a skilled psychiatrist and discussing side effects and other treatment problems may speed up the relief process.

Psychotherapy techniques, particularly those developed to treat depression, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy, can assist a person in better coping, implementing positive lifestyle changes, and managing life with depression.

Therapies that directly stimulate the brain, such as electroconvulsive therapy, vagus nerve stimulation, and transcranial magnetic stimulation, may also help, especially if other treatments are ineffective.

Some people find that changing their lifestyle, such as exercising more, eating a well-balanced diet, practicing meditation, or taking up a new activity, is beneficial.

Outlook

Depression is difficult to cure and often chronic, thus a person may go through periods of remission before relapsing.

A complete depression treatment plan that combines medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes may help a person manage better through relapses of depression.

According to a 2019 study, several characteristics boost the chances of depression remission. These are some of them:

  • less chronic depression
  • not experiencing complicated grief
  • not having a history of childhood adversity
  • a better quality of life
  • less severe depression
  • employment
  • less anxiety

Conclusion

Major depressive disorder is also known as unipolar depression.

It can have an impact on a person’s relationships, profession, education, and sense of self, among other things. Myths about depression might make it difficult for people to get help or seek it.

Although significant depression is difficult to treat, it is possible to achieve remission, especially when a person has access to thorough and experienced care.

People who are depressed should get mental health treatment as soon as possible. A person can often be referred to a qualified and supportive mental health practitioner by their primary care physician.

Sources:

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