Something doesn’t feel right. Luckily, you and your family haven’t been diagnosed with COVID-19, but you’re fatigued all the time and your appetite isn’t what it used to be. Like millions of others struggling with the global pandemic, it’s hard to function sometimes. You may be suffering from atypical depression.
WHAT IS ATYPICAL DEPRESSION?
Atypical depression — also called depression with atypical features — implies that your depressed feeling can improve with positive events. You may have other symptoms, too, like a bigger appetite, sleeping too long, feeling rejected or feeling like your limbs are heavy.
As with other kinds of depression, atypical depression carries similar markers: Changes in how you think, feel, and behave, physical and emotional problems, trouble handling regular day-to-day activities, and debating with yourself if life’s worth living.
SYMPTOMS OF ATYPICAL DEPRESSION
Did you know that many kinds of depression and mental health illnesses can be treated with traditional psychotherapy and newer treatment methods including ketamine infusion therapy?
Atypical depression is characterized by mood reactivity, but you also may experience two or more of:
- Increased appetite resulting in noticeable weight gain
- Sleeping too many hours
- You’re more sensitive and have intense reactions to criticism or rejection, leading to considerable social and work impairment
- These symptoms are distinct from what you might have with typical depression, but the mood of people suffering from typical depression usually doesn’t change, even when something positive happens.
- Some of the other symptoms linked to atypical depression include:
- Sadness or low mood for most of the day or nearly every day
- You no longer enjoy activities that were once pleasurable
- You’ve noticed big changes in your appetite or weight
- You have sleep issues and either sleep too much or not enough
- Other people notice you appear rundown or appear restless
- You have low energy or fatigue nearly every day
- Every day includes feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or excessive guilt
- You have trouble making decisions and can’t focus
- You’re preoccupied with notions of death and suicidal thoughts
WHAT ARE YOUR RISK FACTORS FOR DEPRESSION?
Scientific and medical research has taught us a lot about mental health disorders, and even though there isn’t a definitive cause, we’ve identified several factors which may trigger depression:
- You suffer from extreme dependency, low self-esteem, and pessimism and are overly critical of yourself
- You’ve experienced trauma, like physical or sexual abuse, passing of a loved one, bad relationships, or financial problems
- Blood relatives with a history of mental health disorders, alcoholism, or suicide
- Your sexual orientation or gender identification is not positively accepted by family, friends, or co-workers
- You have a history of mental disorders, including an anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorder, or other mental health illnesses
- You abuse drugs or alcohol
- You have a serious chronic illness like cancer or heart disease
- Use of prescription drugs for high blood pressure or sleeping disorders. Warning: Talk to your doctor before you use or stop taking any medication
CAUSES OF DEPRESSION
We don’t know what causes atypical depression or why different features of depression show up in some people. Atypical depression normally begins in the teen years, sooner than other kinds of depression, and can follow a more long-term or chronic path.
Researchers try and identify causes by looking for a combination of factors like chemical imbalances and inherited traits from blood relatives. Even though neurotransmitters are chemicals, they act as signal carriers in the brain, transmitting data to other regions of your body and brain. When they work poorly, nerve receptors and nerve systems function start to change, causing depression.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Diagnosis of atypical depression or any other normally involves:
- A physical exam to eliminate or connect depression to an existing medical condition.
- Undergoing blood tests or other procedures to see how your thyroid or other organs are functioning.
- A questionnaire and psychiatric evaluation to discuss your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and symptoms.
- Reviewing criteria established by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
- Following a psychological and medical evaluation, your doctor could recommend treatment if you’re clinically diagnosed with atypical depression. Therapy like self-help, hospitalization, psychotherapy, and the use of an innovative new treatment using ketamine may be discussed.
- Ketamine is administered via infusion therapy and has been shown to be effective to help relieve common depression symptoms.
Mental health disorders like depression are treatable with psychotherapy and drugs such as ketamine, but managing the symptoms depends on recognizing them and getting medical care. If you think you’re experiencing atypical depression, get help as soon as you can. If you or a loved one have questions about the clinical use of ketamine to help treat the symptoms of depression we can help. Contact us today.