Severe Depression: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, And More

Last Update on August 25, 2021 : Published on January 27, 2021
Severe depression

Severe depression is quite different from depression. Talking about the symptoms of severe depression, they include feelings of hopelessness, loss of pleasure, increased irritability, trouble in sleeping or concentrating, thoughts of suicide. If not diagnosed on time, it can lead to various serious issues. Severe depression is debilitating in nature. Proper diagnosis and the treatment of severe depression are really important to get back on track. Only a trained mental health professional can evaluate the severity of the depression. This blog covers everything you need to know about severe depression. So, let’s get started.

The Depression Spectrum

Depression Spectrum

There are several types of depression and each person experiences a different kind of symptoms. Therefore, comparing one’s symptoms with others is not the solution for treating depression. There is a defined spectrum for depression according to severity and duration. For example, mild depression may resolve with time and does require some coping strategies, meanwhile moderate or severe depression needs different kinds of treatments and coping strategies. Furthermore, a person experiencing severe depression may have suicidal behavior or self-harm. Therefore, never compare depression and seek support before it’s too late.

Symptoms of Severe Depression

Symptoms of Severe Depression

As of now, there is no set of symptoms for severe depression. Only a certified mental health provider can access the type of depression and the severity of depression. Below-mentioned are some key signs and symptoms of severe depression to check for considering booking an appointment with the therapist.


  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Believing that he\she is sick
  • Agitation
  • Always anxious
  • Intellectual impairment
  • Troubled sleep
  • Physical immobility

Suicidal behaviors and thoughts

  • Collecting the means to commit suicide
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Extreme anxiety or agitation
  • Increased substance use
  • Mood swings
  • Saying goodbye
  • Feeling hopeless or trapped
  • Talking a lot about violence, death, or dying
  • Talking about suicide
  • Withdrawal from family and friends


  • Feeling of profound sadness
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Morning sickness
  • Slow movements
  • Loss of appetite

Physical effects 

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Reduced memory
  • Weight loss
  • Chronic pain
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • High level of fatigue

Psychomotor changes

  • Slow physical movements
  • Changes in speech
  • Reduced facial expressions

Treatment Options for Severe Depression

Treatment Options for Severe Depression

There are various treatment options available for severe depression. All the below-mentioned therapies are intended to be performed by trained and certified psychologists only.


Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy helps people to treat various types of depression. Some of the common psychotherapies used for severe depression are:

Related Read: 5 therapies that work for depression

Fortunately, these therapies can also be performed online for ease and better results. To connect with a certified mental health provider from Betterhelp, click here.

Brain Stimulation Therapy

If someone is experiencing severe depression and not responding to psychotherapies, brain stimulation therapy is performed. Below are some examples of brain stimulation therapies:

  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)


Medication is prescribed along with therapies. The most common type of medicine prescribed for severe depression is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Inpatient Depression Treatment

Inpatient depression treatment means hospitalization. It means more effective treatment in a more controlled environment for better results and fast recovery.

Complementary Treatments

There are various complementary treatments that are usually prescribed by the psychotherapist along with therapies to speed up the recovery process. Some common complementary treatments to aid severe depression are:

Coping Strategies for Severe Depression

Below are some tested and verified coping strategies for treating severe depression:

  • Creating a social network
  • Joining a support group
  • Eating well and healthy
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Regular exercising
  • Avoiding alcohol or drugs
  • Bringing healthy changes in lifestyle
  • Improving mood with hobbies and creativity

Finding a therapist

There is no set of signs for severe depression, however, make sure that whenever you see someone struggling or experiencing above mentioned symptoms, you’re seeking the right support. Sometimes, seeing a psychologist is better than seeking personal advice.

For online help, you can try Betterhelp. You can also check our tested and unbiased review on Betterhelp from here.

Visit BetterHelp

Disclaimer: As BetterHelp Affiliate, We may receive compensation from BetterHelp or other sources if you purchase products or services through the links provided on this page.

I hope this blog helps you to understand severe depression in brief. For more such content, connect with us on all social media platforms.

Thanks for reading.

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

As Seen On