Unipolar Depression

Depression itself is certainly a term that has been absorbed into the public vernacular and used to describe a multitude of situations from grief over a loss to having a bad day at work. However, for people who suffer from major depressive disorder (MDD), the term depression has a different meaning. For purposes in the world of psychology, the term depression relates to certain diagnoses, including some mixture of suicidality, feelings of excessive worthlessness or guilt, minimal energy, changes in sleep or weight, low self-esteem, an inability to feel pleasure, and other related symptoms (Kring & Johnson, 2018).

Sufferers of depression may focus on negative aspects of life and situations, experience exhaustion, and encounter a decrease in sexual functioning, as well as a host of other disturbances, prior to developing symptoms. Symptoms may include difficulty with concentration or thoughts about death and suicide. These symptoms are not new. The Ancient Greeks wrote about people who could not derive pleasure from life. Sigmund Freud viewed depression as aggression turned inward on the self. Cognitive theorists have pointed to negative thought processes, which seem to be automatic in depression sufferers. DSM-5 has eight specific diagnoses, which fall under the depressive disorders category, but the symptomology discussed above should paint a picture of the overall idea (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Important, too, in selecting the correct diagnosis for depression, is the length of time one has been experiencing symptoms and the severity of the symptoms. Individual diagnoses are discussed in relation to prevalence, gender, cultural implications, identified risk factors, and instances of comorbidity in DSM-5.

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