Unipolar Disorder Basics and Information

Unipolar Disorder Basics and Information

Another guide to severity is the degree to which the sufferer can on with their normal life. The less they are able to do so, the more severe the illness.

In order for a disorder to be classified as depression, there has to be evidence of lowered mood. This lowered mood may vary slightly throughout the day but the sufferer cannot usually be cheered up, and this is the major distinction between simply being unhappy and being clinically depressed. Merely unhappy can be dragged out of their mood by circumstances, by friends or by something good that happens. Depressed people are largely unaffected by happy events. Their mood does not lift in response to what goes on around them. They generally remain what is termed emotionally flat and unresponsive.

Unipolar depressive disorders

  • The age of onset of unipolar disorders varies widely; it is generally agreed to be later than for bipolar cases. There is a fairly uniform incidence of onset of cases throughout the life span but the relative contribution of different aetiology factor probably differs between early- and late-onset cases.
  • The average length of a depressive episode is about 6 month but about 25% of patients have episodes of more than a year and about 10-20% develop a chronic unremitting course.
  • About 80% of patients with major depression will experience further episodes.

Research on Unipolar Depression and other Disorders:

The investigators in the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch conduct clinical and basic research studies on the pathop  hysiology, etiology, and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders. This research group focuses on identifying the neural circuits and neurochemicals that mediate the symptoms associated with mood disorders (including unipolar disorder).

The genetic epidemiology program applies the tools of epidemiology and genetics to identify risk factors for mood and anxiety disorders, and their association with other psychiatric and medical disorders.

Patients with unipolar depression/disorder, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder are studied. Major hypotheses under investigation include the effects of stress on brain structure and function and the role of neuropeptides, growth factors, amino acid and monoamine neurotransmitters in the pathophysiology of mood and anxiety disorders.

The translation of the basic and clinical findings relevant to pathophysiology into the discovery of novel effective treatments is also of great importance to the branch. Ultimately our goal is to contribute toward improved methods of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of these common and very serious psychiatric disorders.

What are the treatments for Unipolar Depression/Disorder?

A variety of treatments including medications and short-term psychotherapies have proven effective for depression.

Recently lithium has proven some success stories for unipolar depresison.

Medication for Unipolar Depression/Disorder:

There are several types of antidepressant medications used to treat depressive disorders. These include newer medications-chiefly the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)-the tricyclics, and the monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The SSRIs-and other newer medications that affect neurotransmitters such as dopamine or norepinephrine-generally have fewer side effects than tricyclics. 

Many forms of psychotherapy, including some short-term (10-20 week) therapies, can help depressed individuals. “Talking” therapies help patients gain insight into and resolve their problems through verbal exchange with the therapist, sometimes combined with homework assignments between sessions.

Herbal Therapy for Unipolar Disorder

In the past few years, much interest has risen in the use of herbs in the treatment of both depression and anxiety. St. John’s wort ( Hypericum perforatum ), an herb used extensively in the treatment of mild to moderate depression in Europe, has recently aroused interest in the United States.

How to help when you are in unipolar disorder/ depression?

Depressive disorders make one feel exhausted, worthless, helpless, and hopeless. Such negative thoughts and feelings make some people feel like giving up. It is important to realize that these negative views are part of the depression and typically do not accurately reflect the actual circumstances. Negative thinking fades as treatment begins to take effect. Apply some self help techniques, life style, supportive relationships, developing coping skills, and developing stress management skills.

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