Depressive Disorder (Unipolar Depression)
has shown that depression is influenced by both biological and
environmental factors. Studies show that first degree relatives of people
with depression have a higher incidence of the illness, whether they are
raised with this relative or not, supporting the influence of biological
factors. Situational factors, if nothing else, can exacerbate a depressive
disorder in significant ways. Examples of these factors would include lack
of a support system, stress, illness in self or loved one, legal
difficulties, financial struggles, and job problems. These factors can be
cyclical in that they can worsen the symptoms and act as symptoms
of depression include the following:
mood (such as feelings of sadness or emptiness)
interest in activities that used to be enjoyed, sleep disturbances
(either not being able to sleep well or sleeping to much)
of energy or a significant reduction in energy level
concentrating, holding a conversation, paying attention, or making
decisions that used to be made fairly easily
thoughts or intentions.
can either combine both pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy or utilize one
or the other individually. Medications used to treat this disorder include
Prozac, Paxil, Wellbutrin, and Zoloft. Other medications can be found,
along with their descriptions can be found in the Medications page.
Psychotherapy is useful in helping the patient understand the factors
involved in either creating or exacerbating the depressive symptomotology.
Personal factors may include a history of abuse (physical, emotional,
and/or sexual), maladaptive coping skills/ Environmental factors involved
in this disorder include, among others, a poor social support system and
difficulties related to finances or employment.
Depressive Disorder has a better prognosis than other mood disorders in
that medication and therapy have been very successful in alleviating symptomotology. However, many people with this disorder find that it can
be episodic, in that periodic stressors can bring back symptoms. In this
case, it is often helpful to have an ongoing relationship with a mental
health professional just as you would a physician if you had diabetes or
high blood pressure.