DEPRESSION (Uni-Polar Disorder) & Anxiety (description and effects)
Depression (suffering from Uni-polar Disorder) the persistent pervasive, yet somewhat enigmatic
mood disorder that is quite common
As in the manifestations on the Anxiety spectrum, Depression is a Reaction called a mood "disorder"
/reaction to life circumstances - see Causes.
It is a reaction that is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness, and loss of interest (in almost
everything). It is also known as "major depressive disorder" 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 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
- Is a persistent and pervasive mood disorder; a mental or emotional state; an affective disorder;
and often considered 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 transitory 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, and seasonal depression (seasonal
affective disorder – S.A.D.).
- Depression can also be experienced in other disorders, such as bipolar disorder (manic-depressive
Depression may require long-term treatment.
But don't get discouraged.
Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both.
Read on abut more detailed symptoms
Symptoms, Signs and Characteristics of Clinical Depression:
Note: 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, mental health counsellor should be consulted.
The Major Dimensions/Characteristics & Symptoms of Behavior
in Depression (Uni-Polar Disorder) are (can include):
Affective (Feelings/Emotions - emotional symptoms):
- Decreased energy (on edge, “edgy”), feeling persistently fatigued
- Sadness, hopelessness, low self-esteem, 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
- Depression (dysphoria); sadness and misery; fatigue.
- Persistent feelings of "emptiness" or sadness.
- Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless, and/or guilty - with irritability, increased crying, anxiety and
- 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 & plans; and/or attempts at suicide.
Depression/Uni-Polar: 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.
Depression/Uni-Polar: 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)
- Fatigue and loss of energy (and motivation)
- physical symptoms such as slow movement and speech.
Depression/Uni-Polar: Psycho-Motor Symptoms;
- Psychomotor refers to the origination of movement in conscious mental activity as in the mental
stimuus required to engage in physical movement.
- Psychomotor retardation – generally "slow" behavior; psychomotor agitation; generally "hyperactive"
Depression: Self-Care Symptoms;
- reduced self-care; decrease in personal hygiene; decrease in meeting basic responsibilities.
For Anxiety "Disorders" - see Anxiety
DEPRESSION / Uni-Polar Disorder 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.
Depression / Uni-Polar Disorder 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.
Depression / Uni-Polar Disorder 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.
Depression / Uni-Polar Disorder 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 MA
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.
Depression: Uni-Polar Disorder and Chaos
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 MA, © 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
To read the Causes of Depression,
click/tap the icon at the right