What Is Psychotic Depression: Symptoms And Treatment
Have you heard of psychotic depression before? I mean, it sounds a bit weird right? It’s clear that it is a combination of Psychosis and depression but how is it developed? Does psychosis lead to depression or does depression make you psychotic?
There is a lot of confusion about psychotic depression and in this blog we are going clear the air. In this blog I am aiming to cover what psychotic depression is? How is it different from basic depression and symptoms, causes and treatment for psychotic depression.
Shall we begin?
What Is Psychotic Depression?
Psychotic depression is a mental health condition where major depression is accompanied by psychotic symptoms. Basically what happens is that when you are experiencing a depressive episode, you show some psychotic features along with your depressive symptoms.
This brings me to the question, what are the psychotic features of depression?
- Psychomotor impairment
These three are the psychotic features of depression. If you show symptoms of depression along with these psychotic features of depression, the correct diagnosis of your condition will be depression with psychotic features (i.e. Psychotic depression).
According to rough statistics, around 10% to 20% of people who suffer from major depressive disorder (MDD) have shown symptoms of psychosis during their depressive episode. Can you believe this, 10% to 20 %?
In fact, in case of a patient in an in-patient department, the percentage increases even more. Depression with psychotic features is around 25% to 45% in young adults and about 50% in older adults.
I just can’t believe it! When I first started reading about psychotic depression, I thought it’s a rare condition. But the numbers are telling a completely different story. Anyway, let’s move on…
What Are The Symptoms of Psychotic Depression?
It’s quite obvious that this condition of psychotic depression is going to have symptoms of both Major Depressive Disorder and Psychosis. Let’s see what the symptoms look like:
- Persistent sadness, decreased energy
- Believes life is not worth living anymore
- Extreme Andedonea
- Extreme and sudden changes in weight and appetite
- Sleep related issues
- Lingering fatigue
- Reduced cognitive abilities (decision making, concentration, problem solving, etc)
- Feelings of self hatred and toxic guilt
- Suicidal thoughts
Now, these are the symptoms of major depressive disorder, along with these symptoms you will also experience few symptoms of psychosis like;
- Hallucinations, auditory, visual and tactile
- Psychomotor impairment (your movements and your feelings/thoughts slow down)
- Catatonic behavior or a state of stupor (zero movement and speech)
If you have developed psychotic depression you are most likely to experience all these symptoms. Because Psychotic symptoms are visible only during a depressive episode, a lot of mental health professionals give a wrong diagnosis.
Did you know almost 27% of time psychotic depression has been wrongly diagnosed?
Is Psychotic Depression Curable? Is Treatment For Psychotic Depression Available?
Psychotic depression is a severe condition and treatment of the same os also available. In fact psychotic depression can not be healed without professional help. Once you have been diagnosed with psychotic depression, the treatment has to start right away.
You might also be advised to get a stay-in hospital treatment because the symptoms are generally severe in nature. The treatment usually begins with psychotropic medicines followed by therapy and other treatment options, if required, are also used.
Since your condition is a combination of depression and psychosis, your medicines will also have a combination of antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs. These medicines will assist your brain in balancing the neurotransmitters.
For example; your doctor may prescribe you one selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and one of any of these antipsychotic drugs: Risperdal, Seroquel or Zyprexa.
Other than medication, psychotic depression can be treated with the help of various therapies. Since your condition involves psychosis, you will have to take medicines to reduce the symptoms. But for the depressive part of your condition, therapies come into play.
Basically, psychotic depression can be treated via a combination of medicines and therapy. Here are a few therapies than can help cure psychotic depression:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Behavioral activation therapy (BA)
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
3. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
This option comes into action only when you stop responding to the medicines and therapies you have been receiving for your psychotic depression. An electroconvulsive therapy affects the neurotransmitters in the brain which can eventually have an impact on your conditions.
Psychotic depression is a lot more common than it might seem like. It’s best we understand the symptoms of psychotic depression so that it’s easier for you as well as your therapist to identify your condition as soon as possible.
The sooner your treatment for psychotic depression begins, the better it is for you!
I hope you found this blog helpful in identifying the symptoms of psychotic depression and I hope the information on the treatment for psychotic depression helps in your treatment process.
Thanks for reading!
Take care and stay safe!