What is atypical depression?
Atypical depression starts mainly between 13 and 19 years old and usually runs in families. This type of depression occurs mainly in women and teenagers. Men suffer from atypical depression rarely. And though it is called atypical, this depression is not uncommon. It can overwhelm to emotional paralysis and keep from enjoying life and usual activities. When having atypical depression, people may have such symptoms as feeling hungry, oversleeping, heaviness in arms and legs, difficulties with maintaining relationships with other people. People may gain weight. As any mental disorder, atypical depression is usually treated with help of psychotherapy and medications. In case of proper treatment, symptoms of this disorder can disappear within weeks. One more way of treatment is lifestyle changes. This type of depression is considered to cause more serious functional impairment compared with other ones. People suffering from atypical depression more often suffer from personality disorder and social phobia. This type of mental disorder can be caused both by positive and negative events, and follows a conflict with a close person, for example, a friend, a lover or a boss.
Symptoms and causes of atypical depression
Let us consider standard symptoms of this disorder. They are loss of interest in life and usual activities and feelings of emptiness, tearful and sadness. Additional atypical depression symptoms are weight gain and increased appetite, oversleeping and heaviness in arms and legs, conflicts with friends, relatives, etc. The person suffering from this mental disorder may also be very sensitive to criticism and rejection. He or she may also feel fear of long-lasting relationships and rejection. As a result, this person begins to avoid relationships. Symptoms of atypical depression may disappear thanks to good news, but they may come back later.
As for the causes of this disorder, they are not known. But factors that cause other types of depression are known to cause atypical depression, too. These causes are brain chemistry, life events, medication taking during long period of time (birth control or sleeping pills, etc.), pregnancy, childhood trauma, chronic illness (stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disorders, cancer and diabetes) and inherited traits. As for brain chemistry, depression may occur when neurotransmitters in brain are out of balance. Lack of such neurotransmitter as serotonin plays very important role in depression. Inherited traits are also very important, as well as family history. As for life events, depression may be triggered by such events as loss or death of relative or a loved one, high stress and financial problems. If a child lost a parent in early childhood, it may also result in this disorder. Changes of hormonal levels are classified as biological causes of atypical depression.
Treatment of atypical depression
Main methods of treatment are medicines, psychotherapy, physical exercises and electro-convulsive therapy. Treatment of atypical depression has been improved due to creation of mood-stabilizers and new antidepressants. As for electro-convulsive therapy, it is still considered to be the most effective. Being untreated atypical depression symptoms can get worse and result in other health problems. If you feel, you need help and treatment, talk to any person you trust and a health professional.