Understanding Unipolar Depression

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Do you struggle with depression and aren’t sure exactly what to make of your symptoms? When someone has unipolar depression, they may know something is wrong but not understand the specifics of their condition. It can be difficult to know what’s going on without having a full evaluation from a qualified treatment specialist who understands mental health disorders. Montare Behavioral Health of Tucson uses strategic methods to help identify a person’s symptoms and put a name to what’s going on. Our staff of experienced mental health experts works with people who have unipolar depression and teaches them to minimize their symptoms. We also offer prescription medications that work in tandem with therapy to help each person experience the relief they are looking for.

What is Unipolar Depression?

Unipolar depression is another name for a mental illness called major depressive disorder, which is commonly referred to as depression. Unipolar depression causes a person to experience protracted feelings of sorrow, sadness, and hopelessness. These persistent feelings last for an extended period and cannot simply be willed away by someone trying to cheer up. 

Unipolar depression makes a person have difficulty getting excited about their lives or even participating fully in them. People with depression find it hard to function at work or in school. Their personal lives are often impacted, and they may reach the point where it’s difficult to even leave the house or get out of bed. Long-term depression can create a variety of difficult physical, emotional, and mental challenges that limit a person’s ability to function.

Symptoms of unipolar depression include: 

  • Feeling exhausted
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Suicidal feelings
  • Unable to feel hopeful about life
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Isolating
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs in an attempt to feel better


Anyone who suspects they may be experiencing depression should receive an evaluation from a professional trained to recognize the condition. 

Difference Between Unipolar Depression vs Bipolar Depression

The term unipolar depression differentiates the condition from bipolar disorder, which it is sometimes confused for because of a similarity in the depressive symptoms. Someone with unipolar depression typically has the same types of feelings of depression, but they do not also experience symptoms of mania (euphoric feelings) like those that occur with bipolar disorder. Unipolar depression causes a person to remain in a constant state of depressive symptoms. People with bipolar disorder cycle through manic periods and depressive periods on a regular basis. While both disorders are serious and require professional treatment, an accurate diagnosis must be obtained so each individual will receive the appropriate care for their disorder. 

Treatment Options for Unipolar Depression

Once someone receives a diagnosis of unipolar depression, it becomes important to get help as soon as possible. Some people may deal with depression throughout their lifetime but can still vastly improve their symptoms by seeking professional treatment. Other people experience depression on a temporary basis and can overcome it by attending the right treatment program. 

Treatment for depression begins by determining the level of care a person requires. Attending a residential treatment program can provide the right starting point to help people begin to understand their illness and start the healing process. Residential programs provide several types of therapy that target the symptoms of unipolar depression and minimize them. In addition, an array of options for prescription medications is offered to help ease the symptoms. The goal of a residential treatment program is to teach the individual to rewire their thinking patterns through learning healthy coping skills. This allows them to experience fewer depressive symptoms and begin to feel like their old selves again. 

There are several types of therapies that can be effective in treating unipolar depression (major depressive disorder). The choice of therapy may depend on individual preferences, the severity of depression, and the therapist’s expertise. Here are some common types of therapies used to treat unipolar depression:

  1. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is one of the most widely used and researched therapies for depression. It focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to depression. CBT helps individuals develop more adaptive ways of thinking and coping with depressive symptoms.
  2. Interpersonal Therapy (IPT): IPT is a time-limited therapy that focuses on improving interpersonal relationships and communication skills. It helps individuals address specific issues in their relationships and can be particularly beneficial for depression related to relationship problems or life transitions.
  3. Psychodynamic Therapy: Psychodynamic therapy explores how unconscious thoughts and past experiences may influence present behavior and emotions. It can help individuals gain insight into the underlying causes of their depression.
  4. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT): MBCT combines elements of CBT with mindfulness practices. It helps individuals become more aware of their thoughts and emotions and teaches them how to prevent relapse by recognizing early signs of depression.
  5. Behavioral Activation: This therapy focuses on increasing engagement in rewarding and pleasurable activities to counteract depression’s tendency to lead to withdrawal and inactivity.
  6. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT is often used to treat depression in individuals with comorbid conditions like borderline personality disorder. It teaches emotional regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness skills.
  7. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): ACT encourages individuals to accept their thoughts and feelings without judgment and to commit to values-based actions. It can help individuals detach from unhelpful thought patterns.
  8. Problem-Solving Therapy: This approach focuses on teaching individuals effective problem-solving skills to address life stressors and challenges that contribute to their depression.
  9. Narrative Therapy: Narrative therapy helps individuals reframe their life stories and identify alternative narratives that empower them to overcome depression.
  10. Supportive Therapy: Supportive therapy provides a safe and empathetic space for individuals to express their feelings and receive emotional support. While it may not target specific cognitive or behavioral patterns, it can be helpful for mild to moderate depression.
  11. Group Therapy: Group therapy sessions, led by a trained therapist, allow individuals with depression to connect with others who are experiencing similar challenges. It provides a supportive and validating environment for sharing experiences and learning coping strategies.
  12. Family Therapy: In cases where family dynamics contribute to depression, family therapy can be beneficial. It addresses communication patterns and conflicts within the family system.


The effectiveness of these therapies can vary from person to person, and some individuals may benefit from a combination of therapies or from incorporating therapy into a broader treatment plan that includes medication or lifestyle changes. It’s important to work with a qualified mental health professional to determine the most suitable therapy for an individual’s specific needs and circumstances.

Contact Our Treatment Center for Treating Unipolar Depression in Tucson, AZ

If you feel you may be dealing with unipolar depression, you will want to find the most effective help available. Montare Behavioral Health of Tucson provides a structured treatment that brings out the underlying strength each person has so they can minimize their symptoms of depression. Our experienced therapists use their skills and compassion to help people learn how to reshape their emotions and get the relief from depression they seek. As well, we offer access to FDA-approved medications that help minimize feelings of depression. We form a partnership with each person we treat and help them rise above their circumstances and begin living their lives fully again.

Visit our admissions page today if you want to find out how to work your way out of depression with our help. You deserve to feel better, and we can show you how.