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What are the treatment options for atypical depression?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Treatment options for atypical depression include medication and psychotherapy. Several types of medications may be considered, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which are the most commonly prescribed. If the SSRIs and other medications do not work, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) may be tried. If your atypical depression symptoms are severe, you may need an inpatient or outpatient treatment program to help you manage your symptoms.

Medications used to treat atypical depression do cause side effects, however. SSRIs, such as Prozac and Zoloft, can cause a drop in sexual desire or problems achieving orgasm. Headaches, trouble sleeping, and nausea can also be caused by the medication, but these side effects usually go away with continued use. MAOIs, a drug used when the others fail, can cause mild side effects, such as diarrhea and nausea, but also more serious ones. If you eat foods containing tyramine while taking MAOIs, your blood pressure could jump and cause you to have a stroke. Also, MAOIs combined with SSRIs can cause a dangerous condition known as serotonin syndrome which requires immediate medical attention.

Alternative treatments are available for atypical depression. Omega-3 fatty acids, SAMe, and St. John's wort may help relieve the symptoms of atypical depression. Acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and similar activities can also help with the symptoms. Exercise can also be an effective treatment option.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.