Mental disorders are as serious and alarming as physical ones. In fact, they are even much tougher to treat and their victims have to struggle with the stigma and the lack of medical options. Unipolar depression is a dangerous type of depression. If you are feeling depressed right now, it doesn’t matter what it is officially called; there is always hope to come out of it.
What Is Unipolar Depression?
Major depressive disorders or MDDs are the most common mental illnesses in the United States. Every year, 40 million adults over the age of 18, and approximately 12 percent of teens under 18, are estimated to suffer from major depression disorder. MDD also stands for unipolar depression, clinical depression, major depression, or recurring depression, and there are many reasons that these depressions can afflict someone.
Unipolar depressive disorder is a serious condition that affects the individual’s work, school, family relationships, eating and sleeping habits, and their general health, and strangely enough, these are the same situations that bring on the depression, so the patient drowns in a cycle of depressive behavior. Over 3.5 percent of those with major depression will commit suicide, and this percentage only comes from individuals who were suffering from unipolar depression.
Seven Factors that Point a Finger to Unipolar Major Depression
- Never taking breaks: humans were not made for constant work and no play. Take time out every day to relax or do something fun.
- Poor diet: reduce the amount of junk/fast food that you consume and get a blood test once a year.
- Stress is a major instigator and if it’s affecting you, slow down.
- Lack of exercise is detrimental to your mood. A half hour of walking/running/biking outdoors just 3x a week will improve your physical body as well as your mental outlook.
- Your meaning of life: when you can’t find a meaning to life, you’ll tend to lose motivation and isolate yourself. Find some enjoyment in what you do, such as taking pride in your work or house, doing artwork, enhancing your spirituality, friendships or anything else you are interested in. Everyone is unique.
- Grief can seem like depression, so take a look at what you have lost in life, such as a significant person, a pet or a job. There is a good chance that these feelings and emotions are associated with unipolar depression.
- The most common symptom for those experiencing depression or who are falling into it is isolation. Isolation has been proven to trap more individuals into depression more than any other disorder. It is never good to isolate yourself, so join a group, plan lunch with a friend or reach out to meet an old friend.
When professionals provide a unipolar depression definition, they commonly use the symptoms to identify the patient rather than using a scientific explanation. There is no laboratory test for MDD, but physicians are able to request tests for physical attributes that may be contributing to the symptoms. They talk to family and friends to hear about the recent behavioral changes, and what they observe on daily basis. Typically, the most common age for the onset of unipolar major depression is between 20 and 30 years of age, and there is a later peak occurring between 30 and 40 years of age.
Unipolar Depression Symptoms
Everyone feels low ever so often, but this temporary situation is not the same as major unipolar depression. A major depression brings the individual down to an unbearably low feeling and functioning level. Persons afflicted with this chronic type of depression, often spend most of their day in bed or on the sofa; they cannot perform their regular tasks.
If a depression has advanced to this stage, the individual needs professional help to overcome the disorder. If you or someone you love is experiencing any of the behaviors listed, reach out for professional help before it gets worse. The main identifying features are these six characteristics:
- Apathy and general loss of energy
- Having trouble focusing on conversations, work and other areas of life.
- Having an extreme sadness with no explanation
- Expressing feelings of helplessness and guilt often
- Either sleeping all the time or not being able to sleep
- Suicidal tendencies, thoughts or feelings.
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There is a Stigma in Having a Mental Disease
When someone is diagnosed with a major mental disease like unipolar depression, the repercussions can destroy the family and the life of that individual. MDD is an extreme disorder for the patient to handle, and the general public does not understand a mental disorder. The saying applies here: what a person doesn’t understand, they cannot accept. So, someone diagnosed with MDD, unipolar depression, or bipolar depression will likely bear the stigma of the disease right along with the symptoms.
What Is a Stigma?
A stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality or person, according to Wikipedia. Stigmas are almost always applied to people with a mental health problem, such as a unipolar depressive disorder. The affected person is negatively judged based on a certain characteristic, such as a mental health condition like depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. The general public believes different stereotypes about certain disorders, and they don’t realize that the person with the disorder is seriously impacted by the way that they are treated. This harmful impact tends to add embarrassment, frustration, low self esteem and deeper depression to their condition.
The effects of a stigma may be reduced when the family and close friends offer support to the person with unipolar major depression. When the individual has a safe environment where they can express themselves, they will not suffer the extremity of the depression or any other mental disease. The supportive family who assists the depressed person with their doctor’s appointments and other responsibilities provide a much better recovery. Avoiding rejection with a secure network in their lives allows them to be much happier while addressing unipolar depression treatment.
Side Effects of Stigma
The most common characteristic in being the object of a stigma is the shame and discouragement that is directed toward that person. Because this problem is viewed as degrading, it also keeps them from coming forward and getting the help that they need.
According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, all mental health conditions combined will affect 22 percent of American adults yearly, and that is approximately one-fourth of the population. What is sad is that 11 percent or half of those affected never seek treatment. A stigma being attached to seeing a mental health physician is a huge reason people with depression refuse to seek help.
Stigmas have other serious side effects. They can lead family and friends to reject a loved one, which is devastating. Social support is key to recovery, but the person may encounter hurtful slander or physical harassment, which adds to more stress. Stigmas even result in inadequate insurance coverage, when it is designated for mental illness.
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Coping with Stigmas
If you are dealing with the treatment of depression, there are ways to handle the stigmas. Emotional mental health is treatable, but it has to be revealed to be treated. Here are ways that benefit in conquering the disorder and the stigmas.
- Get educated on depression disorders; knowledge is one of the best methods of attack.
- Recognize the fact that depression is treatable when professional help is sought. A good counselor is a great place to safely express your feelings.
- Acknowledge within yourself that you are not the disorder. You are much more, and you have the capability to conquer this condition.
- Get involved with other mental health groups, such as Active Minds or others that are found by talking to your doctor or your local hospital. No one has to fight unipolar major depression by themselves.