Saturday, January 28, 2012

Symptoms and treatment of atypical depression

Atypical depression is different from the classic depression and many clinicians can miss them. In addition, the sufferer may not identify him or her has depression. But it can carry significant burden. The term and its meaning have changed several times during the past. But currently accepted symptoms of atypical depression are





1.       Variablity of mood with reactivity to positive events : - In classic depression mood is profoundly depressed and there is poor mood reactivity. It is especially seen during positive events. They interpret them positive things in a negative light. But in atypical depression there is some reactivity to positive events, making the diagnosis harder.

2.       Overeating: - Unlike classic depression, atypical patients eat more. Eating makes them more comfortable. Classic depression is characterized by loss of appetite.

3.        Over sleeping : - This is also in contrast to classic depression, where sleeping is reduced.

4.       Extreme fatigue: - Extreme fatigue and heaviness in limbs can be a feature.

5.       Anxiety features such as sweating, palpitations, muscle ache and increased breathing can occur
In addition, personalities with atypical depression tend to sensitive for rejection (real and perceived rejection).

Treatment of atypical depression
Atypical depression is commonly treated with SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Tricyclic anti-depressants are not effective in treating atypical depression. (Quitkin et al 1993)





First published in
Mental health information blog





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About Dr. Manura Nanayakkara

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Dr. Manura Nanayakkara is a Medical doctor working in Sri Lanka. He graduated from the Faculty of Medicine University of Colombo in 2005. In addition to his undergraduate medical degree, he holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychiatry. He completed his postgraduate degree in 2011. 

Work Experience

He started to work as a medical internist in the District general Hospital Nawalapitiya in the Kandy district (central Sri Lanka) in 2006. Following his basic training, he started to work in a Rural hospital in Akuressa (Southern part of Sri Lanka). During that period he used to treat wide variety of diseases in this rural community.

Due to his interest in the field of Psychiatry, he entered into the Diploma in Psychiatry course conducted by the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo. It is the only Postgraduate medical institute in Sri Lanka.

Currently he is undergoing training in MD psychiatry program leading to specialist in the field of psychiatry.