Atypical depression (AD) is actually a subtype of dysthymia and significant depression, sharing many of the symptoms of each, but additionally being characterized by mood reactivity - getting able to knowledge improved mood in response to positive events. In contrast, sufferers of "melancholic" depression usually can not experience positive moods, even when very good things happen. In addition, atypical depression is characterized by reversed vegetative signs and symptoms, namely over-eating and over-sleeping, and separately by interpersonal rejection sensitivity. Regardless of its name, "atypical" depression is really the most typical subtype of depression - up to 40% in the depressed population may be classified as getting atypical depression.
Atypical depression is really a subtype of depression with specific certain characteristics. A person with classic clinical depression has at the very least five, and possibly a lot more, in the following signs and symptoms or signs:
- loss of energy
- feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- loss of enjoyment in factors that were once pleasurable
- difficulty concentrating
- uncontrollable crying
- difficulty making decisions
- increased need for sleep
- insomnia or excessive sleep
- unexplained aches and pains
- stomachache and digestive problems
- decreased sex drive
- sexual problems
- a change in appetite that causes weight loss or gain
- thoughts of death or suicide
- attempting suicide
In general, people with atypical depression don't have as a lot of with the signs and symptoms that people with classical depression may possibly have. They also tend to have first experienced depression at an early age, during their teenage years.
Despite its name, atypical depression is in all probability rather prevalent. Some doctors believe that it's underdiagnosed. Researchers are contemplating whether or not or not atypical depression might possibly be a sort of dysthymia -- a low-level depression that has lingered for a minimum of two years. Researchers are also investigating the notion that atypical depression may possibly possibly be a milder form of bipolar disorder referred to as cyclothymia. Men and women with cyclothymia typically have much less extreme switches in mood.
Causes of Atypical Depression
- Specific medications, which includes those for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or irregular heartbeat.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Quantity of exposure to light.
- Chronic anxiety (including from loss, abuse, or deprivation in early childhood).
- Nutritional deficiencies.
- Family history of depression.
- History of abuse (including mental, physical, or sexual) .
- Present or past alcohol or drug abuse--25% of men and women with addictions have depression.
The main characteristic of atypical depression that distinguishes it from key depression is mood reactivity. In other words, the individual with atypical depression will see his or her mood enhance if some thing positive happens. In key, or melancholic, depression, positive changes won't bring on a change in mood. Furthermore, diagnostic criteria call for a minimum of two with the following signs and symptoms to accompany the mood reactivity:
- sleeping too significantly (hypersomnia)
- eating too significantly (hyperphagia), resulting in weight gain
- having a far a lot more intense reaction or increased sensitivity to rejection, resulting in problems with social and work relationships
- getting a feeling of being weighed down, paralyzed, or "leaden"
A physician will investigate physical causes for any of these symptoms. That includes performing blood tests for thyroid problems or hormone levels. Atypical depression can co-exist with other diseases. For example, it might occur with hypothyroidism -- low levels of thyroid hormone -- which has signs and symptoms that include depression and weight gain. Studies have also shown that atypical depression has been found in some individuals with adult-onset human growth hormone deficiency.
Current data suggests that those with atypical depression will respond much better to MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) like phenelzine than they will to imipramine (a tricyclic). Dietary restrictions and side-effects remain a issue. At the present time, research is concentrating on finding newer medications with much better side-effect profiles to which these patients will also get a great response.
Although much a lot more research is needed, it seems that patients might also obtain an adequate response with the SSRIs, but not all studies seem to back up this assertion. In one study, the SSRI Prozac was found to have a response only equal to imipramine, a tricyclic whose comparative response to phenelzine is well-known.
Interestingly, nevertheless, drug treatment might not be essential at all. A study conducted in 1999 found that patients receiving cognitive behavioral therapy responded just as well as patients receiving the MAOI phenelzine. 58% of patients in each groups responded, in comparison to only 28% of patients in the placebo group.