What is Atypical Depression?

Unknown to many, there are many categories of depression and atypical depression is a common subtype of major depression. Atypical depression occurs more in women and often appears early in life, usually during the teenage years. It is characterized by a specific symptom pattern that includes a temporary boost in mood as response to positive life events. In contrast, cases of classic depression exhibit non-stop sadness despite positive developments.


People who have atypical depression are very sensitive to interpersonal rejection. Thus, it is very much possible for them to suffer from other mental conditions like avoidant personality disorder, social phobia, or body dysmorphic disorder which are all related to self-image and acceptance by others. With the proper diagnosis, a program of treatment can be implemented. However, there is not much material on the exact response of atypical depression to treatments compared with melancholic depression. Although some research suggest that atypical depression is a lot more responsive to an older type of drugs, MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), than to the newer ones.

What are the Symptoms?

If you are to seek help for yourself or anyone you know who you suspect is suffering from atypical depression, you need to know what the symptoms are. The things you need to observe are: 1) overeating with an increase in weight of at least 10 lbs.; 2) hypersomnia where the person sleeps for 10 hours or more in a day; or when the person sleeps in for an additional 2 hours or more than the regular sleeping time when he is not depressed; 3) leaden paralysis or when the arms or legs feel heavy as though made of lead and are difficult to move; and 4) a history of being hypersensitive to rejection by others even during the times when he is not depressed.

Treating Atypical Depression

If you can identify at least two of the above symptoms other than mood reactivity, then it is important to consult with a qualified psychiatrist rather than your primary care physician for a more suitable treatment program. There are a few options available which would include primarily the use of medications, usually antidepressants, to regulate the symptoms. An alternative course would be the use of psychotherapy. A 1999 study found that patients responded favorably to cognitive behavioral therapy just as well as those undergoing drug treatments.

Unfortunately, most prescriptive antidepressant drugs have potentially dangerous side effects that could be life-threatening on extreme cases. Thus, you may wish to discuss other natural medications like Deprex that can help in re-balancing the biochemistry of your brain.

If your diagnosis reveals that indeed you have atypical depression, know that help is always available. Treatment is important because the condition affects you, your family and your work. With the appropriate treatment over a reasonable time frame, you can see favorable developments taking place. Meanwhile, look forward and think positively. Reduce the stress around you and try to be gentle with yourself. Do not compare yourself to others and try to be more tolerant. Change may not be immediate but you can learn how to manage your life so you don’t need to stay in the shadows.

Additional Resources:

What Is Atypical Depression?
http://www.teenhealthfx.com/answers/emotional%2Bhealth/46955

Atypical depression is a type of depression that is different from classic forms of depression, such as major depressive disorder, in terms of symptoms and course of treatment. People diagnosed with atypical depression have some symptoms of depression, but do not fit the criteria for more classic forms of depression. A person with classical clinical depression has at least five (or more) symptoms or signs out of a list of about 18. These symptoms include things such as sadness, loss of energy, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, uncontrollable crying, irritability, insomnia or excessive sleeping, thoughts of death or suicide, and unexplained aches and pains. People with atypical depression tend not to have as many of these symptoms as a person with a classic form of depression.

Newsweek Mental Health – Atypical Depression
http://www.workpsychcorp.com/newsweek2.html
Atypical depression has a major effect on the way people lead their lives. Excessive sensitivity to personal slights can make it difficult to develop close relationships. Even friendly constructive criticism at work can feel like overwhelming rejection. The lack of energy and the depressed mood can make going out to a movie seem like too much trouble. Depressive phases are often set off by real or perceived rejections. When a romance falls apart, it can easily trigger serious symptoms.

Atypical Depression — Depression Symptoms News
http://www.depressionsymptomsnews.com/atypical-depression/
Atypical depression can be treated only after a correct diagnosis. The medication for this condition can effectively control the symptoms and an effective medication for this condition includes selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants. Such SSRI antidepressants include sertraline, fluoxetine and paroxetine. These medications tend to take around one month to work and determining the correct dose may take some time.

Symptoms of Atypical Depression by Dr. Deborah Bauers | Living Healthy 360
http://www.livinghealthy360.com/index.php/symptoms-of-atypical-depression-12977/
Atypical depression is believed to be the direct result of a chemical imbalance in the neurotransmitters in the brain. Mayo Clinic suggests that certain risk factors, however, increase the potential for experiencing this type of depression. These may include childhood trauma, a family history of depression, low self-esteem, a history of unstable relationships, a low threshold for handling stress and one or more episodes of post-partum depression. Women are more likely to experience any form of depression than men.

Types of Depression
http://therapyinorangecounty.com/depression/types/
Atypical depression is characterized by short episodes of depression characterized by weakened forms of major depressive disorder’s symptoms. People with atypical depression can be cheered out of their depressive states by pep talks from those the afflicted finds close or trustworthy.

Fight Depression with Nutrition
http://www.healthy-eating-politics.com/fight-depression.html
Atypical Depression is a subtype of clinical melancholic depression. This condition is characterized by mood reactivity. Sufferers of atypical depression are able to experience an improved mood in response to positive events. In contrast, sufferers of “melancholic” depression generally cannot experience positive moods, even when good things happen.

Do you have Atypical Depression? | Depression Symptoms
http://depression-symptoms.org/what-is-depression/atypical-depression/
People with atypical depression are usually treated in the same way as the patients in the other types of depression. Most of the times, the people with atypical depression are neglected. They are offered some very basic treatment when the reality is they should be offered help from a psychiatrist. The treatment of the disease is usually a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

Atypical Depression — Depression Symptoms News
http://www.depressionsymptomsnews.com/atypical-depression/
The causes of atypical depression include sleep disturbances, genetic factors resulting in depression, high blood pressure along with increased cholesterol level and mental, sexual and physical abuse that occurred in the past. Other causes of this condition also include drug or alcohol intake along with nutritional problems that may occur during childhood period. Stress following loss of loved one or friends can also result in this condition.

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