Depression With Atypical Features:
Diagnostic Validity, Prevalence, and Treatment

Quitkin FM.
Department of Therapeutics,
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons,
New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York.
Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2002 Jun;4(3):94-99.


Depression with atypical features is a treatable and relatively common disorder among depressed outpatients. A growing body of evidence suggests this is a biologically distinct subtype of depression. This assertion is supported by genetic epidemiologic studies and by a preferential response of the subtype to monoamine oxidase inhibitors compared with tricyclic antidepressants. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) includes atypical features as a parenthetical modifier for depressive illness. According to DSM-IV diagnostic criteria ("atypical features" specifier), the disorder is primarily characterized by 2 or more of the following symptoms as predominant features in patients with major depression or dysthymic disorder: overeating, oversleeping, "leaden paralysis," and interpersonal rejection sensitivity. Patients also show mood reactivity in response to actual or potential positive events. Despite aspects of the disorder resembling a maladaptive, persistent mode of behavior, patients diagnosed with depression with atypical features demonstrate a good response to antidepressant treatment.
Depressive realism
Retarded depression
New antidepressants
Depression without sadness
Oversleeping and overeating
Atypical depression: treatment
The atypical subtype of depression
Atypical depression and personality
Atypical depression and noradrenaline
Atypical depression and soft bipolarity
Atypical depression : biological markers

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