Atypical depression (AD) is a subtype of dysthymia and main depression, sharing numerous of the signs and symptoms of each, but also getting characterized by mood reactivity - becoming in a position to experience enhanced mood in response to positive events. In contrast, sufferers of "melancholic" depression generally can not knowledge positive moods, even when great issues happen. Furthermore, atypical depression is characterized by reversed vegetative symptoms, namely over-eating and over-sleeping, and separately by interpersonal rejection sensitivity. Despite its name, "atypical" depression is actually the most typical subtype of depression - up to 40% with the depressed population might be classified as having atypical depression.
Atypical depression is a subtype of depression with certain precise characteristics. A person with classic clinical depression has at least 5, and possibly more, from the following 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 several of the signs and symptoms that people with classical depression could 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 may 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 could possibly be a milder form of bipolar disorder referred to as cyclothymia. Men and women with cyclothymia generally have much less extreme switches in mood.
Causes of Atypical Depression
- Precise 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 major 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. In addition, diagnostic criteria call for a minimum of two from 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 far more intense reaction or increased sensitivity to rejection, resulting in problems with social and work relationships
- getting a feeling of becoming 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 may possibly 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 very good response.
Although much much 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.