After its legalization across all 50 states, cannabidiol has been the subject of some impressive claims about mental health and wellness. Unsurprisingly, many people are a little skeptical and want to see what researchers are finding before trying to use CBD. Some researchers are starting to explore what the impacts on atypical depression are. Understanding the current state of research could help you to make better choices about CBD use and depression.
What Is Atypical Depression?
Despite the name, atypical depression is very common. It is a subtype of major depression and dysthymic disorder (another type of depression also called chronic major depression). Symptoms of atypical depression include oversleeping, increased appetite, increased reaction to problems in social and professional relationships, and feeling weighed down.
It is believed to be the result of impaired brain circuit functioning related to mood. It is currently unclear why atypical depression may emerge versus melancholic depression (another subtype).
Depression is associated with risk factors such as family history, substance abuse, difficulties with major life events (death, trauma, illness etc.) and other life-related triggers. Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters play a role in depression, but the exact cause is unknown.
How Is It Treated?
In most cases, atypical depression is treated with psychotherapy. This is a type of therapy involving talking with a professional who can help the individual establishing mechanisms for handling triggers. Therapy appears to also have a direct benefit on depression. Doctors may also suggest lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol and other drugs.
Many patients are also treated with medications. These can include monoamine oxidase inhibitors and other antidepressants such as SSRIs. Some other types of antidepressants are not effective for the atypical type of the disorder.
How Can CBD Help?
There has only been a small number of studies into using CBD oil for depression, stress and anxiety so far. However, anecdotal and early research suggests that using CBD for mental health may be beneficial.
One study from 2018 found that CBD has anxiolytic, antipsychotic and neuroprotective properties. This suggested that using CBD for mood swings and depression may be helpful. However, it also suggested that further study is needed.
Other research has found that CBD has a positive interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain. However, whether this will positively impact atypical depression requires more research.
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