Atypical Depression

Atypical Depression has historical significance (i.e. - atypical in contradistinction to the more classical agitated, “endogenous” presentations of depression that were the norm when depression was rarely diagnosed in outpatients and almost never in adolescents or younger adults) and today does not connote an uncommon or unusual clinical presentation as the term might imply. Mood reactivity is the capacity to be cheered up when presented with positive events (e.g. - a visit from children, compliments from others). Mood may become euthymic (not sad) even for extended periods of time if the external circumstances remain favorable. Increased appetite may be manifested by an obvious increase in food intake or by weight gain. Hypersomnia may include either an extended period of nighttime sleep or daytime napping that totals at least 10 hours of sleep per day (or at least 2 hours more than when not depressed). Leaden paralysis is defined as feeling heavy, leaden, or weighted down, usually in the arms or legs. This sensation is generally present for at least an hour a day but often lasts for many hours at a time. Unlike the other atypical features, pathological sensitivity to perceived interpersonal rejection is a trait that has an early onset and persists throughout most of adult life. Rejection sensitivity occurs both when the person is and is not depressed, though it may be exacerbated during depressive periods.