There are millions of people around the world suffering from various forms of depression. One of the forms of this debilitating condition is known as unipolar disorder. Many people have heard of bipolar disorder. This is a similar condition, which is also classified as depression.
Depression is a common feeling when something bad happens in a person’s life. It is common for people, at times, to feel down. They may experience a lack of interest in the usual rhythms of life and express sadness visibly in tears.
However, there is a psychological condition that results when someone stays in a depressed state for a long period of time or experiences acute bouts of sadness or despair.
One form of this condition is known as bipolar disorder. Individuals suffering from this particular disorder experience alternating waves of extreme sadness and happiness or mania.
Another form of depression is unipolar disorder, in which the individual only experiences the depressed state rather than the manic state.
Distinguishing Between Unipolar and Bipolar Disorders
The experiences of unipolar depression and bipolar disorder are quite similar on the depressive side. Both illnesses cause prolonged, depressed states in patients. Unipolar disorder, however, does not have any manic episodes associated with it.
The two are distinct according to the populations that they affect and the way that they are treated. For example, bipolar disorder tends to appear earlier in in people’s lives, generally affecting people in their twenties. Unipolar disorder more commonly strikes in middle-age. Bipolar disorder is treated with lithium and other stabilizers while unipolar depression is more often controlled with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).
Symptoms of unipolar disorder should be regarded with caution. It is easy to misperceive certain natural episodes of depression in life with a real mental illness or disorder. Diagnoses are best left up to professionals in the health care field.
However, if you see several of the following symptoms in yourself or in a loved one, it may be a good idea to say or do something. If you are thinking of someone besides yourself, you should broach the topic carefully. You are not a doctor and probably cannot help in any significant way but you can encourage someone to see a professional or even provide the names of some therapists that could help.
• Low Energy
Many times, people with unipolar depression feel fatigue throughout the day. While some people suffering with this disorder struggle to sleep, others will sleep far too much. They may do this simply to avoid confronting the issues that are depressing them or to avoid the thoughts that plague them.
• Lack of Sexual Desire
Just as they lose interest in many other aspects of life, depressed people will lose interest in sex. This may just result in low interest but it may also cause phenomena such as erectile dysfunction.
• Social Withdrawal
It is difficult for people with this disorder to muster the requisite happiness of social outings. Since most people head out to be convivial, depressed people often just avoid trying. Some people compare it to an addiction. They avoid anything that might break them out of their sadness. In other cases, they may want to go out with friends but are afraid to ruin a good time. This is tied to self-esteem issues.
Anxiety can manifest itself in many ways and, on its own, is not unusual. However, a clinically depressed person often remains anxious and irritable for long periods of time. Persistent nervousness is another common trait of such individuals.
Depressed people often do not seem to care about anything. That is to say that they do not get animated by anything. They are never excited by any news or opportunity and have a flat emotional demonstration about everything.
The indecisiveness in depressed people may result particularly from their inability to concentrate. Depressed individuals are often trapped in certain thought patterns that trouble them. They cannot manage to get away from those thoughts and focus on anything else.
• Suicidal Thoughts
Suicide is frequently considered by depressed people even if it is only acted out much less often. While some people keep these thoughts to themselves, you may notice a friend or other loved one who vocalizes feelings that nothing is worth it and he or she may as well be dead, etc.
• Low Self-Esteem
In a depressed condition, people often feel that they are no good for anything and not capable of anything. They may verbalize the idea that there is no hope for them or anyone else.
• Persistent Sadness
Temporary sadness is normal but depressed individuals cannot escape the feeling.
• Loss of Appetite
People with unipolar disorder often lose weight because they stop eating. They either lose interest in this activity just as in many others or they simply forget because their thoughts distract them.
• Trouble Sleeping
Many depressed individuals find it difficult to sleep, even though they want to get some rest. This may develop into insomnia.
If you see these traits in yourself or in someone close to you, it is important to contact a professional about the issue. In the case of a loved one, you should encourage treatment before depression takes a severe physical toll on the person or causes suicide.