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Like its sister disorder (Bipolar Disorder) Unipolar Disorder is characterized by severe and debilitating depressive episodes of Clinical Depression or Major Depression. However, where Bipolar Disorder consists of cycles of manic (high) and depressive (low) symptoms, Unipolar Disorder does not. Patients who suffer from Unipolar Disorder are true to its name in that they only have symptoms at one end of the spectrum (the low end). There is a major distinction between a person who is going through a rough patch and may be unhappy and a patient that is clinically depressed. Depressed people are typically unaffected by happy moment. Their mood does not lift in response to the people and the events that surround them. They often remain apathetic and emotionally unresponsive. Unipolar Depression or Unipolar Disorder is sometimes classified as Clinical Depression or Major Depression. But, whatever the name, patients that suffer from this disorder experience significant disruption in their work, social and family life. They no longer enjoy the things they used to do and may become withdrawn, hopeless and overwhelmed.
If severe Unipolar Depression goes untreated, it can result in suicide, lost relationships and lost jobs. Patients may miss work and family events, and lack the motivation to participate in activities they used to find pleasurable. The causes for Unipolar Disorder are not fully understood but they may be varied, and can include disruption in neural circuits and neurochemicals in the brain, genetic predisposition, secondary disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder. See the related articles titled Depressive Disorders and Clinical Depression for more information.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms may vary from patient to patient, depending on the severity of the disorder.
Symptoms can include:
How is it diagnosed and treated?
The diagnosis of Unipolar Disorder or Unipolar Depression can be simple, but less severe cases may not be so easy to diagnose. Doctors will perform physical and mental evaluations to rule out other disease or illness and to be sure that there are no coincident mental disorders, like Anxiety Disorders, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, or Eating Disorder among others.
In a major depressive disorder with incomplete recovery, depressive symptoms can recede and be replaced by chronic hypochondriacal concerns, irritable mood, and secondary relationship problems. In other patients, called masked depressives, complaints may focus on physical illness and the patient may seem outwardly cheerful and deny feelings of depression. Other patients will complain of fatigue, and aches and pains.
To diagnose Unipolar Depression, doctors will look for the symptoms detailed above. These symptoms must occur every day or nearly every day and endure all day or nearly all day. The risk of recurrence after treatment can be as high as 50%.
Treatment(s) can include:
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The Warning Signs Of An Impending Bipolar Disorder Manic Episode
Bipolar disorder - as the name implies - involves two distinct set of symptoms. One set throws the individual down into the depths of a massive depression. The other places the individual who suffers with bipolar disorder at the top of a peak manic episode.
Most everyone can eventually recognize the warning signs of an impending depressive episode related to bipolar disorder. More likely than not, individuals with bipolar disorder try very hard to avoid it.
However, for many individuals with bipolar disorder, it's more difficult to recognize the signs of an impending manic episode. After all, a manic episode of bipolar disorder can be mistaken in some cases - especially in the very early formation -- for the lifting of the corresponding mood swing of the depression.
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