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Unipolar Depression

Unipolar depression is another term of major depression or clinical depression. It is different than manic depression, which is known as biopolar disorder or bipolar depression because it involves a switching between two ‘poles’ of emotional state: mania and melancholia. This category of depression covers a number of potential causes of depression from psychological to environmental, genetic and even social factors, the conjunction and interaction of which is not entirely understood at this time. However, what is known is that unipolar depression is an extremely serious and frequently diagnosed psychological disorder. These forms of clinical depression can affect parents in a number of ways when dealing with children through the difficulties of post partum depression, depression in children and teen depression, also known as teenage depression.

Clinical Depression

There are many forms of depression and some of them are actually very minor, including the general state of depression that is experienced by most of the population but which does not, in fact, qualify as a form of clinical or unipolar depression. The symptoms of depression, according to the National Institutes of Health, include the following signs and symptoms: a continually sad, anxious or emptiness that characterizes one’s mood, feelings of pessimism or a lack of hope, feelings of guilt, helplessness and worthlessness, a loss of interest in prior sources of pleasure including sex, feeling enervated, inability to concentrate or effectively remember or make decisions, insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns, changes in appetite or body weight, thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts, restlessness or irritability, as well as enduring physical depression symptoms including headaches, digestive troubles or persistent pain. As noted, depression, although a relatively regular occurrence in the general population reaches the more serious consequences in its clinical form which can be manifests as signs of depression such as substance abuse, sometimes thought to be a form of self-medication, or even thoughts suicide. There is no definitive “Depression Test,” but rather the trained professional who is making the diagnosis needs to consider a number of factors and symptoms, as the diagnosis is for the most part made by closely observing the at times self-reported symptoms of depression in conjunction with the observed signs of depression that the patient may manifest.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Although there are many forms of unipolar or major depression, one related form of depression is known as seasonal affective disorder or by the descriptive acronym S.A.D. Those individuals who contract or suffer from seasonal affective disorder, which is also known in some cases as holiday depression and is thought to be related to the level of sun that an individual presumably requires for a health mental state. It is thought to result from the changes in the length of the day, particularly the lack of daylight hours during the Christmas season and the holidays that surround it have in some cases lent their name to this form of environmentally triggered depression. One of the most common treatments for seasonal affective disorder has primarily included the use of a box that emits light. This box releases light levels that are thought to be high enough to contribute the needed daylight that might be triggering seasonal affective disorder in the depressed individual.

Treatments for Depression

There area a number of depression medication options on the market that are available to patients. One of the most common depression medication options is the prescription of pharmaceuticals called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). There are a wide variety of SSRIs and some of them include citalopram (known by the trade name Celexa), fluoxetine (known by the trade names Prozac, Fontex, Seromex, Seronil, Serafem), paroxetine (known by the trade name Paxil) and sertraline (known by the trade names Zoloft, Lustral, Serlain) among others. Although there is much information which any patient being prescribed any of the above or any other form of antidepressant should now, it might be also useful to consider that many of these drugs can effectively control depression symptoms, but that there is no panacea of this disorder and these drugs may not inexorably “Cure Depression,” which works on an assumption that depression is a type of disorder that one might be able to cure without in addition examining environment or lifestyle factors that could contribute to an individual being diagnosed with depression. Some side effects of using SSRIs can include nausea, headache, drowsiness, dizziness, potential sexual side effects, changes in appetite leading to weight loss or gain, changes to dreams, and occasionally a worsening of symptoms leading to increased depression, anxiety and potentially thoughts of suicide.

There are also a number of counseling options available to sufferers of depression. Through counseling, depression can be diagnosed and the progress of the patient maintained. One of the helpful aspects of therapy is that its communicative basis is in many ways helpful for a diagnosis in that it involves an interplay whereby the practitioner and patient examine personal and social issues. It is also through psychiatrists that one might consider administering antidepressants such as the aforementioned selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is widely recognized that counselors, psychiatrists and therapists most often are the first trained health care professionals to relate to the depressed in a clinical manner. It is important when considering the medical regimen being used to treat depression that psychiatrists and psychologists are used in conjunction with pharmaceuticals. These health care professionals are important for helping the patient deal with a number of issues including medication compliance and informing both the patient and the patient’s family about how to deal with depression and how to ensure that the patient recovers. It might also be noted that there has been of late it has been noted by some in the media that there is an increasing perception that antidepressants are being over-prescribed as a treatment for depression. Although the conclusion to this debate surrounding the use of antidepressants will continue, it is generally well agreed upon that as a means of treating depression one should combine some form of pharmaceutical regime with a proper complimentary therapeutic one.