Atypical depression is not unusual but it can be difficult to treat. This type of depression is associated with particular symptoms including excessive sleeping, weight gain, a heavy feeling in the arms and legs, and difficulty maintaining interpersonal relationships. Common atypical depression treatments mirror those prescribed for other forms of depression. If these do not prove effective, alternative treatments are available.
Symptoms Resulting in Atypical Depression Treatment
Symptoms of atypical depression include an increased appetite that leads to unintentional weight gain and depression that lifts when good news arrives or during positive events, only to return later. Some sufferers report an increased desire for sleep and they may sleep for more than ten hours each day. Others state that their arms and legs feel heavy and this feeling lasts for at least an hour. Sensitivity to criticism or rejection is a symptom that can make it difficult for sufferers to maintain long-term relationships.
Anyone who feels depressed should consult with a doctor as soon as possible. Depression that is not treated may lead to additional mental or physical health issues or affect other areas of life. Some people who feel depressed take drastic measures including suicide. If suicidal thoughts arise, it is important to get help immediately.
Atypical Depression Treatment Resulting from Diagnosis
To diagnose atypical depression, a doctor may ask detailed health questions and perform a physical examination. These approaches are used to identify a potential cause, which could be an underlying physical health issue. A complete blood count, thyroid test, or other lab tests may be performed. The doctor will also administer a psychological evaluation that identifies thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and symptoms.
Patients diagnosed with atypical depression meet the criteria for major depression and specific atypical depression criteria included in the American Psychological Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Treatment may include medication and psychiatric counseling. If treatment does not seem to be effective or a medical condition such as pregnancy makes antidepressants too risky, alternatives should be considered.
Article content, © Kira Stein, MD, APC. | West Coast Life Center