DEPRESSION/Dysphoria (Uni-Polar Disorder) & Anxiety  (description and effects) Introduction:

(suffering from Uni-polar "Disorder", or Dysphoria) is a quite common, persistent pervasive,  
somewhat enigmatic, complex mood disorder that is quite common. To grasp a fuller understanding of what   
all is (or can be) involved, this is a somewhat lengthy two-page article. I think you will find it both enlightening
and helpful.

Because of the complexity, it is a much-misunderstood, and hence enigmatic state of being, with the result
(generally), that due to the misunderstanding, it is generally not known exactly what causes, or triggers   
Due to this, often a large number of things that are possible/probable causes are not considered and taken into  
account, resulting in "treatment" and assistance that too often address the wrong possible "causes". The reality
is, as with many mental/emotional reactions, that a variety of factors may, or will be involved.

Similar to the manifestations on the Anxiety spectrum,
Depression is a Reaction, also called a mood      
to life circumstances (see Causes/Treatment). It is one that is characterized by a
persistent feeling of sadness, and loss of interest (in almost everything). It is also known as
"major depressive
or"clinical depression".

It permeates and affects virtually everything in life: how you feel, think and behave, and generally  
leads to a variety of emotional, mental and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day
activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living.

It is more than just a bout of the blues: depression isn't a weakness, and you can't simply "snap out" of it.
Depression may require long-term treatment. But don't get discouraged. Most people with depression will feel   
better with medication, counselling, or both.

It is more than just a bout of the blues: depression isn't a weakness, and you can't simply "snap out" of it.
  • Is a persistent and pervasive mood disorder; a mental or emotional state; an affective disorder; and often
    considered to be a clinical, psychological or psychiatric disorder (neurotic or psychotic) lasting two weeks
    or more.
  • Is described differently by people who experience it.
  • Is a common condition ("normal") - and treatable.
  • Is not what in everyday language refers to as “depression” which describes any downturn in mood that
    may be relatively brief and perhaps due to something trivial. Depression persists!
  • Has symptoms that prevent a person from leading a normal life.
  • In many ways depression resembles the grief and mourning that follow bereavement, there are often
    feelings of low self esteem, guilt and self-reproach, withdrawal from interpersonal contact and physical
    symptoms such as eating and sleep disturbances (see below).
  • Depression ranges from normal feelings of the blues to major depression (types of depression include:
    major depression, bipolar depression, dysthymia (persistent mild depression), and seasonal depression
    (seasonal affective disorder – S.A.D.).  
  • Depression can also be experienced in other disorders, such as bipolar disorder (manic-depressive
  • Persistent feelings of "emptiness" or sadness
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless, and/or guilty.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Fatigue or loss of interest in ordinary activities, including sex.
  • Change in eating and sleeping patterns (too much OR too little).
  • Irritability, increased crying, anxiety and panic attacks.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
  • Thoughts of suicide; suicide plans or attempts.
  • Persistent physical symptoms or pains that do not respond to treatment.
  • Reduced motivation
  • Reduced self-care (grooming, dressing, etc)
  • Reduced desire for social activities (time with friends etc)

Detailed symptoms - read on
  Symptoms, Signs and Characteristics of Clinical Depression (dysphoria): detail

Not everyone with depression will have all of these symptoms or even experience them at the same
  • However, if a person has four or more of these symptoms, and nothing can make them go away, or if
    they last more than two weeks, a doctor, or mental health counsellor should be consulted.

                                    Manifestation: concise overview

Affective (Feelings/Emotions - emotional symptoms):
  • Decreased energy (on edge, “edgy”), feeling persistently fatigued
  • Sadness, hopelessness, low self-esteem, misery and fatigue, feelings of worthlessness
  • Withdrawal from social and family activities, and frequently episodes of  absence  from place of
  • Decreased sexual desire and activity
  • Disturbance in eating or sleep habits, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep (mind and thoughts go
    into hyper-speed), or sleeping excessively
  • Persistent feelings of "emptiness" or sadness.
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless, and/or guilty - with irritability, increased crying, anxiety  and
    panic attacks.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
  • altered mood and activities, such as:
  • a despondent lack of activity, low mood, helplessness, hopelessness and dejection.
  • difficulties with (or loss of) concentration and thinking.
  • feelings of apathy and anxiety (more below).
  • lack of emotional expression, and of motivation.
  • feelings of guilt (especially inappropriate guilt), and/or self-blame.
  • recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideas and plans; and/or attempts at suicide.
                             Depression/Uni-Polar Dysphoria:

Cognitive (Mental/Intellectual) Symptoms;
  • Problems with concentration, memory, and decision-making;
  • generally negative self-evaluations and guilt;
  • hopelessness; delusions and hallucinations only in severe cases.
  • Lack of self-worth (worthlessness), and a pessimistic sense of inadequacy (esteem problems).
  • Diminished, or loss of, interest or pleasure in nearly all things.

Interpersonal/Social Symptoms;
  • General difficulties in interpersonal situations.
  • Reduced desire for social activities (time with friends etc);
  • social withdrawal.

Biological/Physical Symptoms: reduction of the functional activity of the body, such as:
  • Decreased sexual interests - disturbances of sexual function.
  • Persistent physical symptoms or pains that do not respond to treatment.
  • poor appetite or weight loss (or gain), anorexia
  • sleep disturbances, insomnia or hypersomnia (waking early or late)
  • constipation.
  • Fatigue and loss of energy (and motivation)
  • physical symptoms such as slow movement and speech.

Psycho-Motor Symptoms;
  • Psychomotor refers to the origination of movement as a conscious mental activity -  the mental
    stimulus required to engage in physical movement.
  • Psychomotor retardation – generally "slow" behavior; psychomotor agitation; generally "hyperactive"

Self-Care Symptoms;
  • reduced self-care; decrease in personal hygiene; decrease in meeting basic responsibilities.

Anxiety "Disorders" - see Anxiety
Dysphoria in Children, the Elderly, Women & Men

Women experience depression about twice as often as men
  • Many hormonal factors may contribute to the increased rate of depression in women-particularly such
    factors as menstrual cycle changes, pregnancy, miscarriage, postpartum period, pre-menopause, and
  • Many women also face additional stresses such as responsibilities both at work and home, single
    parenthood, and caring for children and for aging parents.

  • A recent NIMH study showed that in the case of severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS), women with     
    a preexisting vulnerability to PMS experienced relief from mood and physical symptoms when their   
    sex hormones were suppressed. Shortly after the hormones were re-introduced, they again    
    developed symptoms of PMS. Women without a history of PMS reported no effects of the hormonal

  • Many women are also particularly vulnerable after the birth of a baby. The hormonal and physical
    changes, as well as the added responsibility of a new life, can be factors that lead to postpartum
    depression in some women.
  • While transient "blues" are common in new mothers, a full-blown depressive episode is not a normal
    occurrence and requires active intervention.

Dysphoria in Men
Although men are less likely to suffer from depression than women, millions of  men are affected by the
  • Men are less likely to admit to depression, and doctors are less likely to suspect it.
  • The rate of suicide in men is four times that of women, though more women attempt it.
  • In fact, after age 70, the rate of men's suicide rises, reaching a peak after age 85.

Depression can also affect the physical health in men differently from women: although depression is
associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in both men and women, only men suffer a    
high death rate.
  • Men's depression is often masked by alcohol or drugs, or by the socially acceptable habit of working
    excessively long hours.
  • Depression typically shows up in men not as feeling hopeless and helpless, but as being irritable,
    angry, and discouraged; hence, depression may be difficult to recognize as such in men.
  • Even if a man realizes that he is depressed, he may be less willing than a woman to seek help.
  • Encouragement and support from concerned family members can make a difference.
  • In the workplace, employee assistance professionals or work-site mental health programs can be of
    assistance in helping men understand and accept depression as a real issue that needs treatment.
Disphoria in the Elderly
Some people think that it is normal for the elderly to feel depressed. It is not - most older people feel
satisfied with their lives.
  • Often, when depression develops, it may be dismissed as a normal part of aging.
  • When he or she does go to the doctor, the symptoms described are usually physical, for the older
    person is often reluctant to discuss feelings of hopelessness, sadness, loss of interest in normally
    pleasurable activities, or extremely prolonged grief after a loss.
  • Depressive symptoms in older people are often missed.
  • Doctors recognize that some symptoms may be side effects of medication the older person is taking
    for a physical problem, or they may be caused by a co-occurring illness.

Does Depression progress in severity as one gets older?
This is difficult to determine: On the one hand it can appear that it does; but on the other hand, it could  
also be the case that because depression persists, it has become almost a deeply ingrained "habit".
Depression is difficult to counter - it takes a lot of self-motivation and will-power - and depression   
generally makes both of those difficult: not impossible, but difficult. When someone has given up -   
stopped motivating themselves (still waiting for the medications to do all th work) it will continue and
deepen. This can be reversed at any time, by taking the necessary steps to reduce the depression (see
Causes & Treatment of Depression)

Dysphoria in Children
The depressed child may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that the
parent may die.
  • Older children may sulk, get into trouble at school, be negative, grouchy, and feel misunderstood.
  • Because normal behaviors vary from one childhood stage to another, it can be difficult to tell whether
    a child is just going through a temporary "phase" or is suffering from depression.
  • Sometimes the parents become worried about how the child's behavior has changed, or a teacher
    mentions that "your child doesn't seem to be himself."
  • In such a case, if a visit to doctor rules out physical symptoms, the doctor will probably suggest that
    the child be evaluated by a professional who specializes in the treatment of children.

Klaas Tuinman
Dawn Cove Abbey
Deerfield, (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia, Canada - 2008 rev: 2018
If you feel you are suffering from Depression - or Anxiety - contact your
healthcare provider, please:
or perhaps I may be of assistance.
Depression-Dysphoria: Uni-Polar Debilitating Disorder
The Chaos and How it manifests: Sign and Symptoms
Dawn Cove Abbey
Roadside assistance For Your Journey Through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman © 2007-2017
Questions and comments welcomed.
Depression - Is not just a
temporary or situational sadness –
it is persistent and pervasive.
  • Depression may be the cause
    of a daily, unrelenting
    headache  that peaks in the
    morning and late after-
    noon. It is often
    accompanied by a
    complication of migraines.
  • People with chronic pain
    syndromes are often
    markedly depressed.
To read the Causes and Treatment of
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