Disorder Information Sheet Mental Health Information from PsychNet-UK
Multi Search
HomeSubject Page
Refer to conditions of use

Depression (Unipolar)

Depression is a disturbance in mood characterized by varying degrees of sadness, disappointment, loneliness, hopelessness, self-doubt, and guilt. These feelings can be quite intense and may persist long periods of time. Daily activities may become more difficult, but the individual may still be able to cope with them. It is at this level, however, that feelings of hopelessness can become so intense.

Depression (Mood) Disorders have been divided into unipolar and bipolar. The bipolar type is manifested by mania or by both mania and depression. On the other hand, unipolar depression are manifested only by depression. Main symptoms of unipolar are:

Extreme Lethargy.

Disturbed sleep, early waking, difficulty getting to sleep and waking up tired after a normal night of sleep.

Permanent sense of anxiety.

Sensation of utter despair, hopelessness or uselessness of everything.

Irritability and physical exhaustion.

The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.

Associated Features:

Lack of concentration.
Lack of sexual drive.
Irrational fears such as fear of death, thoughts of suicide, or fear of committing suicide.

Differential Diagnosis:

Some disorders have similar symptoms. The clinician, therefore, in his diagnostic attempt, has to differentiate against the following disorders which need to be ruled out to establish a precise diagnosis.

Sleep Disorder.
Sexual Problems.
Obsessional Behavior.
Anxiety or Stress Disorder.


The cause of depression are likely to be different for different people. Sometimes a depressive episode can appear to come out of nowhere at a time when everything seems to be going fine. Other times, depression may be directly related to a significant event in our lives such as losing a loved one, experiencing trauma, or battling a chronic illness. Other caused may involve:

Pre-menstrual and postnatal hormone changes.
Hormone deficiencies.
Drug dependency.


There are a number of Mood Disorder sub-types refer to appropriate disorder:

Bipolar Disorder
Dysthymic Disorder
Major Depression

related books
UK Support Groups
   Depression Alliance

35 Westminster Bridge Road
Tel: 0207 633 0557
Fax: 0207 633 0559

Web: www.depressionalliance.org/
PsychNet-UK Links
  Mood Disorders
Page Updated
13th August 2003