Atypical depression among psychiatric inpatients:
clinical features and personality traits

Derecho CN, Wetzler S, McGinn LK, Sanderson WC, Asnis GM
Department of Psychiatry,
Albert Einstein College of Medicine/
Montefiore Medical Center,
Bronx, NY 10467, USA.
J Affect Disord 1996 Jun 20; 39(1):55-9


OBJECTIVE: This study investigates the frequency and characteristics of Atypical Depression (AD) among depressed inpatients. METHOD: Twenty-one depressed inpatients received DSM-IV diagnoses, were rated on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD), and assessed for AD using the Atypical Depressive Disorder Scale. AD was defined as the presence of mood reactivity and two of four associated features: hyperphagia, hypersomnia, leaden paralysis, rejection sensitivity. Mood reactivity was defined as the ability to reach 50% of a non-depressed mood. All subjects completed the SCL-90, MCMI-II, and a suicide survey. RESULTS: Seven patients (33%) met criteria for AD. AD and non-AD patients did not differ in terms of severity of depression, history of suicide attempts, levels of clinical symptomatology, age of onset of depression, prior hospitalizations, and most personality characteristics. However, AD patients scored significantly higher than non-AD patients on the SCL-90 Interpersonal Sensitivity and MCMI-II Avoidant scales, and were more likely to be single. CONCLUSION: AD is fairly prevalent on an inpatient service, comparable to the frequency found in outpatient settings. AD is not a milder form of depression. The only differences between AD and non-AD patients reflect the personality trait of rejection sensitivity which is a defining feature of AD.
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