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However, where Bipolar Disorder consists of cycles of manic (high) and depressive (low) symptoms, Unipolar Disorder does not.
The causes for Unipolar Disorder are not fully understood but they may be varied, and can include disruption in neural circuits and neurochemicals in the brain, genetic predisposition, secondary disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder.
See the related articles titled Depressive Disorders and Clinical Depression for more information.
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Symptoms may vary from patient to patient, depending on the severity of the disorder.
In a major depressive disorder with incomplete recovery, depressive symptoms can recede and be replaced by chronic hypochondriacal concerns, irritable mood, and secondary relationship problems.The risk of recurrence after treatment can be as high as 50%.Treatment(s) can include: 10-25% of women and 5-12% of men will suffer from Unipolar Disorder at some time in their lives. There is a significant risk of suicide in patients with severe symptoms (up to 15%), and a significant chance of developing Bipolar I Disorder (5-10% of those with single episodes, and 10-15% of adolescents with recurrent episodes) Bipolar Disorder presents a higher risk of recurrence.If severe Unipolar Depression goes untreated, it can result in suicide, lost relationships and lost jobs.
Patients may miss work and family events, and lack the motivation to participate in activities they used to find pleasurable.
Patients who suffer from Unipolar Disorder are true to its name in that they only have symptoms at one end of the spectrum (the low end).