Depression is a challenging mental health condition to treat in some patients. If you find that your teen is suffering from major depression, and if the depressive symptoms seem challenging to manage, there may be a need to address the depression as a condition known as diurnal depression.
Atypical depression, also commonly referred to as diurnal depression, is often not an initial diagnosis given to a patient with depression. It is only after the depression is found to be resistant to traditional mental health treatment that a doctor will classify the condition as such and, when done, the treatment options then become more tailored to the needs of the patient. If your teen continues to have depressive symptoms even after treating the depression with traditional therapy and psychotropic medications, then it will be important to ask the psychiatrist if diurnal depression is a realistic health concern.
Morning depressive symptoms are often the most common sign of a resistant depression complication. Using natural sunlight along with a structured bedtime will help with the diurnal depressive symptoms that are often at a peak upon waking in the morning. For teens, structure is vitally important when combating depression especially when combating diurnal depression.
For some teens that are treating for depression, the onset of antidepressant induced mania is quite common when medication types and medication levels are not appropriate. So, before classifying your teen as having atypical, resistant depression, medications will need to be adjusted to determine if a complication of mania, or other resistant symptoms, are related to drug interaction.
Once drug interactions are eliminated as a risk, if your still continues to have a poor response, then diagnosis of diurnal depression will often be made and treatment will need to be customized to the needs of your child. Often, this will begin with an inpatient treatment program in a mental health facility to ensure your teen is monitored and provided structure during the initial phases of mental health care.
With a morning routine that will start with a structure to balance circadian rhythm, balancing cortisol and melatonin, and balancing sunlight exposure, your teen’s depression can be improved by an overall positive start to the day. As a parent, it will then be important to carry those same structures into the home as you continue to fight this atypical form of depression.
Sources: Undoing Depression, by Richard O’Connor