Atypical Depression Explained - Types of Depression Disorder

Atypical depression is a subtype of major depression or dysthymic disorder that involves several specific symptoms, including increased appetite or weight gain, sleepiness or excessive sleep, marked fatigue or weakness, moods that are strongly reactive to environmental circumstances, and feeling extremely sensitive to rejection.

What is atypical depression?

Atypical depression can be a “specifier” for either major depression or dysthymic disorder. People with atypical depression have often experienced depression first at an early age, during their teenage years.

A person with classic major depression has at least five of the following nine symptoms:

  • Sadness or depressed mood most of the day or almost every day
  • Loss of enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable
  • Major change in weight (gain or loss of more than 5% of weight within a month) or appetite
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep almost every day
  • A state of physical restlessness or being rundown that is noticeable by others
  • Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness or excessive guilt almost every day
  • Problems with concentration or making decisions almost every day
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide, suicide plan, or suicide attempt

Dysthymic disorder, now known in the psychiatric community as “persistent depressive disorder,” is a condition involving the presence of a depressed mood more days than not for at least a two year period in adults (one year in children and adolescents) plus at least two of the above associated symptoms, but fewer than the five symptoms which define a major depressive episode.

Despite its name, atypical depression is very common. It is contrasted with “melancholic” depression, another subtype of depression, involving symptoms of insomnia (rather than oversleeping), loss of appetite (rather than increased appetite), a relative lack of mood reactiveness to environmental circumstances, and a markedly diminished ability to feel pleasure.

If you are suffering from depression, our caring medical team has the experience in diagnosing and providing expert depression treatment in South Florida. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

Dr. Raul J. Rodriguez

Dr. Raul Rodriguez

DABPN, DABAM, MRO