Depressed older patients with the atypical features of interpersonal rejection sensitivity and reversed-vegetative symptoms are similar to younger atypical patients.
OBJECTIVES: The atypical depression (AD) subtype has rarely been examined in older patients. However, younger AD patients have been characterized as having more severe and chronic symptoms of depression compared with non-AD patients. DESIGN: Secondary data analysis by using analyses of variance and Growth Curve Modeling. SETTING: Clinical Research Center for the study of depression in later life. PARTICIPANTS: Depressed older patients (N = 248) followed over 2 years. METHOD: In a longitudinal study, we examined depression severity and chronicity in patients with major depression with some features of AD, specifically rejection sensitivity and reversed-vegetative symptoms (e.g., hyperphagia and hypersomnia), or leaden paralysis, and compared them to non-AD patients. The Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS) was used to assess depressive symptoms and history. Depression severity and chronicity were assessed every 3 months by using the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale. RESULTS: The AD symptom group reported more DIS depressive symptoms, more thoughts about wanting to die, earlier age of onset, poorer social support, and double the number of lifetime episodes than non-AD patients. Growth curve analyses revealed that, compared with non-AD patients, the AD symptom group had more residual symptoms of depression during the first year of follow-up but not during the second year. CONCLUSION: Characteristics of older patients with features of AD are similar to younger patients. Assessment of atypical symptoms, in particular, rejection sensitivity and reversed-vegetative symptoms, is essential and should be considered in treatment plans.
Sachs-Ericsson, N; Selby, E; Corsentino, E; Collins, N; Sawyer, K; Hames, J; Arce, D; Joiner, T; Steffens, DC
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