People who have atypical depression are more likely to suffer from social anxiety disorder (SAD) and have symptoms of both diseases that are more severe than people with non-atypical depression.
Erhan Ertekin, MD, of Istanbul University, Turkey, and colleagues examined 247 patients with SAD. Of that number, 145 patients had a current depressive episode (unipolar or bipolar) with atypical features, 43 patients had current depressive episode with non-atypical features and 25 patients no history of depression. Thirty-four patients were excluded from comparisions since they only had past depressive episodes.
Atypical depression differs from other types of depression in that the depression can lift temporarily due to positive events, weight gain is seen, there is an increased desire to sleep and enhanced sensitivity to rejection or criticism which impacts relationships, social life, and job, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Onset of SAD and depression was earlier in patients with atypical depression than patients with non-atypical depression, the researchers reported in the journal Psychiatry Research.
In addition, the atypical depression group had more instances of suicide attempts and bipolar disorder comorbidity. The group also had had higher SAD and depression severity.
“The presence of atypical depression is associated with more severe symptoms and more impairment in functioning in patients with SAD,” the researchers wrote.
In this study, we aimed to investigate the effects of atypical and non-atypical depression comorbidity on the clinical characteristics and course of social anxiety disorder (SAD).
A total of 247 patients with SAD were enrolled: 145 patients with a current depressive episode (unipolar or bipolar) with atypical features, 43 patients with a current depressive episode with non-atypical features and 25 patients without a lifetime history of depressive episodes were compared regarding sociodemographic and clinical features, comorbidity rates, and severity of SAD, depression and functional impairment.