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How Do You Describe Atypical Depression?

December 2, 2021

You’re feeling a little sad. Maybe it’s because you and your spouse are finally empty nesters, with your last child recently moving out. Then you flip through a photo album of when your kids were younger, and you suddenly feel better. But if the feelings continue, you may be depressed.


The World Health Organization calls depression a major source of disability and estimates that it affects nearly 300 million adults globally, or about five percent of the population. Other relevant statistics:

  • More women get depression than men.
  • Depression may lead to suicide.
  • There is successful treatment for different levels of depression, including ketamine treatment.
  • More than 17 million U.S. adults have depression, according to a 2017 study by the S. National Institute of Mental Health.


There are many kinds of depression you could experience, but healthcare providers often classify them based on the symptoms. You may be suffering from:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Bipolar depression
  • Perinatal and postpartum depression
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Psychotic depression
  • Seasonal affective disorder

Some people may have symptoms that subside briefly due to an event, with this kind of depression known as atypical depression. While many depression types have overlapping symptoms and can have co-occurring illnesses, the symptoms are often treatable once the condition has been assessed, but only an experienced mental healthcare professional can make an accurate diagnosis.


What is atypical depression?

“Any type of depression can make you feel sad and keep you from enjoying life. However, atypical depression — also called depression with atypical features — means that your depressed mood can brighten in response to positive events. Other key symptoms include increased appetite, sleeping too much, feeling that your arms or legs are heavy, and feeling rejected.”

What are the causes?

No one knows for sure what causes atypical depression or why someone may exhibit different depression features. Atypical depression often begins in the teen years, earlier than different types of depression, and may become chronic.

As with other kinds of depression, a combination of factors may be involved in causing atypical depression, such as:

  • Differences in your brain. Neurotransmitters are natural chemicals in the brain which transmit signals to other parts of your body and brain. When these chemicals become damaged or weakened, how nerve systems and nerve receptors work may change drastically, resulting in depression. This is one of the possible benefits of using ketamine therapy, as it’s been known to repair or strengthen neurotransmitters, allowing cells to communicate freely and more successfully.
  • Depression is more likely in people related to someone by blood who also suffers from the condition.

Know the symptoms

People experiencing atypical depression suffer depression with short periods of better moods. Your mood may improve when something optimistic happens. Then moods go low again. Other symptoms might include:

  • Over-eating
  • Over-sleeping
  • Your limbs feel heavy
  • You often experience feelings of rejection


Many people who suffer the worst symptoms of depression will tell you they’re disabled, and with good reason. Depression often leads to joblessness, homelessness, and the general inability to care for oneself or loved ones. But is it a disability? If you’re an adult U.S. citizen experiencing depression and can’t work, you may qualify for benefits through the Social Security Administration. Collecting benefits, however, depends on offering proof of long-term disability and inability to work.


Diagnosis of atypical depression normally depends “upon an evaluation of your symptoms. A doctor will perform a physical exam to rule out physical causes of depressive symptoms such as a thyroid disorder. He or she will ask if you have a family history of mental health issues or depression. Your doctor will also ask about your behaviors and feelings and may refer you to a behavioral health specialist (psychologist or psychiatrist) for diagnosis and treatment.”


Medicine and talk therapy (known as psychotherapy) are successful for most people experiencing depression, including atypical depression. Your primary care physician or mental healthcare provider can recommend therapy to relieve symptoms. But many people suffering from depression benefit not only from therapy, but also a treatment combination that may include ketamine therapy.

If you experience severe depression, a hospital stay may be required or, alternatively, you could participate in an outpatient program until symptoms fade.


If you’ve experienced a change in eating habits, weight gain, or excessive tiredness, you may be experiencing a kind of mental condition called atypical depression. While its symptoms can be serious if left untreated, there are different kinds of therapy that may help, including talk therapy, self-help, and ketamine therapy. Contact us today to learn how we may be able to help you find relief!

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