Unipolar depression, also called major depression, is a clinically diagnosable condition that can result in a number of physical, mental, and emotional problems. A person can become depressed for many reasons, including life stresses, unusual biochemical activity in the brain, and a familial history of depression or other mental disorders. An individual who feels down most of the time and experiences noticeable changes in mood and behavior can find immediate help, so long as he or she is willing to speak openly about problems with doctors or psychologists. Recovery is likely with adequate support from friends and family and an earnest desire to get better.
In addition to the well-known symptoms of feeling sad, pessimistic, and hopeless, a person with unipolar depression may also experience irritability, problems sleeping, and dietary changes. An individual may feel fatigued most of the time and unable to concentrate on mental tasks. Unipolar depression can cause a person to lose interest in activities that he or she once enjoyed, such as sports, spending time with friends, and sex. In addition, it is common to have unfounded yet very present feelings of guilt, anxiety, and anger.
People often feel entirely hopeless and helpless when they are depressed. In reality, depression is one of the most common conditions seen by medical professionals worldwide; help is readily available when a person decides to do something about his or her situation. An individual who believes that he or she may be suffering from unipolar depression should schedule an appointment with a psychologist or a medical doctor right away to receive an accurate diagnosis and learn how to overcome symptoms.
Professionals can diagnose unipolar depression by carefully evaluating reported symptoms and checking for underlying medical problems. A diagnosis is made when the doctor can confirm that symptoms are chronic, meaning that they last for more than two weeks. Once the condition has been correctly identified, medical experts can help the patient decide on the best course of treatment.
Many people benefit from a combination of positive lifestyle changes, regular counseling sessions, and medications. By establishing a healthy diet and exercise routine and learning to better manage stress, a patient has a good chance of feeling better within weeks. Antidepressant medications can help balance chemical activity in the brain and promote happier feelings. Most patients are encouraged to meet with psychologists or support groups to give them the opportunity to talk about their problems, uncover hidden feelings, and learn new coping strategies.