Atypical depression is basically a subtype of clinical depression. It exhibits less severe and fewer number of symptoms than clinical depression. This type of depression differs from major depression. The patient may also experience moments of happiness sometimes.

The symptoms of atypical depression may last for months or even stay forever. The mood of the patients is governed by the outside events like success or failure, etc.

Causes of Atypical Depression

Chemical imbalance in the brain is responsible for causing Depression in the patients. The changes in the level of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and nor-epinephrine are supposed to cause depression.

Risk factors for Atypical Depression

  • Feeling of Guilt or worthlessness
  • Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  • Family history of depression
  • Significant loss due to death, divorce, or separation
  • Interpersonal conflicts
  • Unfortunate life event such as losing a job, retiring, etc
  • Serious illness like cancer, heart disease, stroke, or HIV
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Isolation from family, friends, or other social groups

Symptoms of Atypical Depression

The atypical depression differs from major depression in terms of its mood reactivity. Usually, patient with atypical depression will feel better if case something positive happens. However, mood of patients with major depression does not improve with any positive changes.

Apart from feeling better temporarily in event of positive life changes, a patient diagnosed with atypical depression must have any two of the following criteria.

Common Symptoms of Atypical Depression

  • Excessive sleeping (hypersomnia)
  • Excessive eating (hyperphagia)
  • feeling of heaviness in the limbs
  • Weight gain
  • Increased reactivity
  • Increased sensitivity to rejection at social and work relationships
  • Feeling of being weighed down

Treatment of Atypical Depression

Psychiatrists recommend combination of various therapies for obtaining optimal results in patients with atypical depression.

The patients of atypical depression usually do not respond to tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) (older class of drugs).  Psychiatrists recommend antidepressants as the suitable treatment for atypical depression.

  • Antidepressants including monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

MAOI drugs including selegiline, isocarboxzaid, phenelzine and tranylcypromine

SSRIs including fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, escitalopram, fluvoxamine, citalopram

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy/ Psychotherapy
  • Physical exercise
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Vagus nerve stimulation
  • Tran cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
  • Light therapy
  • Lifestyle and home remedies
  • Alternative medicine including Herbal remedies and supplements

Are you aware of the various types of depression? Do you know that patient may even feel high in depression rather than perceived notion of having gloomy and sad feeling always?

Although, Depression is among most common psychological disorders; however not many people are aware of various forms of depression.

Let’s briefly discuss the various types of depression.

Depression may be classified into various types based on following factors.

  • Prevalent features
  • Duration
  • Severity of symptoms

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines various types of depression on the basis of standard criteria for various psychiatric disorders.

Major Depressive Disorder (Clinical Depression)

It is a common form of depression that has widespread occurrence among masses. It is characterised by the occurrence of major depressive episode lasting for entire day for at least two weeks.

Common symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder

  • Depressed mood
  • Lack of interest in activities that were once pleasurable
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Excessive movement or slowing down
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty in concentrating or making decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts


Patients who are under depression for long term (2 or more years) are said to be affected by Dysthymia.

Patients suffering from Dysthymia usually have at least two (or more) of the following symptoms for minimum period of 2 years.

  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • Feeling guilty or hopeless
  • Decrease or increase in eating
  • Difficulty sleeping or increase in sleeping
  • Low energy or fatigue

The occurrence of symptoms does not persist for over two months at a time. It is less severe and more persistent than Major Depression.

Atypical Depression

This type of depression differs from major depression. The patient may also experience moments of happiness sometimes. The symptoms of atypical depression may last for months or even stay forever. The mood of the patients is governed by the outside events like success or failure, etc.

Symptoms of atypical depression

  • Overeating
  • Oversleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection
  • Weightgain

Manic Depression or Bipolar Disorder

The Bipolar depression is characterised by alternative periods of mania and depression. The shift between the states can be rapid. In some cases, patient may only experience maniac phase without any depressive episodes.

Manic episode usually lasts of at least one week marked by persistent elevated or irritable mood.

  • Increase in activity
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Rapid thoughts or ideas
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Decreased sleep
  • Compelled to keep talking
  • Increase in activity
  • Excessive involvement in pleasurable and risky activities

Seasonal depression (SAD)

It is also called as seasonal affective disorder and it has fixed pattern of occurrence every year.

The symptoms usually begin in the fall or winter season and these disappear in spring or early summer.

Psychotic Depression Serious


The psychotic depression is marked by the presence of symptoms of psychosis including delusional thoughts.

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Unrealistic thoughts

Postpartum Depression

The postpartum depression occurs in mothers who have had recently delivered a baby. It is characterised by occurrence of major depressive episode in new moms within one month after delivery.