People affected by atypical depression tend to exhibit a particular set of signs and symptoms. It has been observed that teenaged girls, are at a greater risk of developing this condition. The treatment options of this condition are the same as what is followed for major depressive disorders (MDD). The treatment would involve drug therapy, psychotherapy, and changes in lifestyle.
The primary symptoms include the ones that are observed in all kinds of depressive disorders. These might include the typical symptoms such as:
- Feeling of sadness
- Sense of resentment
- Feeling tearful
- Decreasing interest in activities which one earlier found to be enjoyable
These general symptoms might be accompanied by atypical symptoms such as:
- Increased desire to sleep for more than 10 hours (hypersomnia)
- Heavy feeling in the limbs
- Increased hunger (hyperphagia), which leads to weight gain
- Low tolerance towards criticism or rejection, which may lead to conflicts at home and workplace
One of the classic indicants of atypical depression, which differentiates it from MDD is mood reactivity, wherein the individual's mood improves with good news, but worsens later. Also, patients suffering from this condition do not have the capability to maintain long-distance relationships, and they have a fear of getting into one.
Apart from these, other symptoms include:
- Aches and pains for no apparent reason
- Increased irritability
- Low libido
- Problems with digestion
- Suicidal thoughts
- Inability to take decisions
Specific causes for this condition have not been identified. Experts believe that a combination of a number of factors might be responsible. These may include family history of depression, traumatic events, physical/emotional/sexual abuse, serious illness, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, isolation, and issues with the working of neurotransmitters.
Managing the Condition
Most people find relief from the use of medications and counseling sessions or psychotherapy. During the counseling sessions, the therapist interacts with the patient to understand the patient's condition and related issues. The sessions include talking about the triggers, and ways to avoid them.
The therapist tries to make the patient understand the symptoms he/she is exhibiting, and suggests ways to bring about behavioral changes. The expert, through lengthy and extensive discussions, tries to figure out the underlying cause of this psychological condition; these could be experiences in early life or certain relationships.
The treatment also involves making the patient aware of ways to cope with stressful situations in a better way. As the counseling proceeds, the patient is encouraged to set realistic goals for himself/herself, and increase the happiness factor in life.
It is essential that the patient follows the recommended treatment plan religiously, educates himself/herself about depressive disorders, and becomes aware about any kind of warning signs or symptoms. The affected person should also make the necessary lifestyle-related changes.
To conclude, atypical depression is a form of depression which has certain particular or characteristic signs along with some symptoms that are common to MDD. Affected individuals can certainly get better if they follow the guidelines recommended by the doctor, and also have the support of their family and friends.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.