Signs & Symptoms Of Psychotic Depression

Psychotic Depression warning signs

Psychotic depression is characterized as a severe case of major depression coupled with some form of psychosis such as delusions, hallucinations, both or some other type of a break from reality. It is a very serious condition and those experiencing this type of depression should seek professional help immediately. Those suffering from psychotic depression make up an estimated 25% of all patients admitted to a hospital for mental illnesses.

Since this disorder is made up of two parts, the depression aspect and the psychosis aspect, it is important to know the symptoms for each and how they manifest themselves as well as the treatment options for those suffering from psychotic depression.

Symptoms of Psychotic Depression

Those with this disorder may experience any of the normal symptoms of depression, but most notable may be:

  • Hopelessness
  • Guilt
  • Agitation, short temper, quick to get angry
  • Withdrawal
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Mental impairment, not being able to think clearly or concentrate
  • Neglect of appearance, does not bathe regularly or change clothes
  • Constipation

This disorder is also marked by the appearance of psychosis in the patient. Delusions (a false sense of one’s self or of what is going on) and hallucinations (seeing things or hearing things that are just not there) are the two major manifestations of the psychosis aspect of the disorder.

A patient experiencing delusions with psychotic depression may be unusually distrusting of others believing that others can hear their thoughts. They may also think that they are dying from a terminal disease such as cancer. They can believe that they are guilty of a serious crime that they never committed. They can also have a false sense of themselves believing that they are someone famous or overly important.

If they experience hallucinations then they may hear voices that insult them making them feel worthless and belittling them or telling them to harm themselves or others. They may see the devil or other incarnations of evil.

Unlike other mental illnesses that include psychosis such as schizophrenia, where the patient truly believes that their delusions or hallucinations or in fact real, someone suffering from psychotic depression knows that what they are seeing or hearing or believing about themselves is not real or based in reality. This produces a sense of shame in the patient and makes it harder to diagnose them since the shame they feel keeps them from talking about it or admitting their psychosis to health care providers. This sense of shame and not being able to control their thoughts may also lead to or make worse their depression.

Treatment Options

Psychotic depression ideally should be treated in a hospital setting where proper monitoring of the patient can take place. The risk for hurting themselves or others is higher than normal for those suffering from this form of depression so being under medical supervision until being stabilized is preferred.

Different medications can be used to treat psychotic depression. Usually a combination of depression medications along with anti-psychotic medications are used to stabilize the patient. Normally, antidepressants will have to be taken for a longer period than the anti-psychotic drugs. Treatment with medications can be effective and, if successful, results can be seen within one year. Follow up and maintenance treatment is highly recommended for patients as well.

For severe cases, or for cases in which medication did not produce adequate results for the patient, electroconvulsive therapy might be recommended. ECT has a very long and successful track record in helping those suffering from a vast array of mental health illnesses.

What Causes Psychotic Depression?

The exact cause of psychotic depression in not currently known. Some research points to a possible link between high levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a hormone the body produces during high levels of stress or when presented with trying circumstances. Also a family history of mental illness may increase a person’s chances of developing a mental disorder.

Psychotic depression is a serious matter. Severe major depression along with psychosis often leaves one suffering from this disorder unable to take care of themselves. It also carries a high risk of someone afflicted with this form of depression to hurt themselves or others. Anyone at risk of or thought to be suffering from psychotic depression should seek immediate help. It is recommended to treat patients of this disorder in a hospital setting so they can be properly monitored while being stabilized. Treatment can be highly effective, so it is important to keep in mind that there is always hope for those going through psychotic depression.

Exercise Your Way Out Of Mild Depression

Jogging Stroller benefits

Exercising more has always been a great way to increase endorphin release in the brain and it is regularly encouraged for minor cases of depression. New mothers often go through varying phases of postpartum depression and finding time to get out and get moving is almost an impossible task. However, there are some ways to increase your movement while also taking care of the kids. This is why we are huge proponents of jogging strollers. Now, everyone has different activity levels and you do not have to be a runner to get the full benefit of this type of equipment. In fact, just getting out and moving for some fresh air can have tremendous advantages on your energy level and the way that you feel. You can also take this a step further in do walkathons for charity to double the mental and physical benefits of doing good for yourself as well as others.

I should know as I am a mother and this is something that I encountered with my first child. There is nothing better than helping out a great cause, socializing with other like minded and loving people, getting some exercise, and making the entire day a family affair. These are just some of the reasons that I have grown to love participating in any kind of charitable walk, run, or marathon type of events in the name of a good cause. If you have not attended one of these types of wonderful events, then you really do not know what you are missing. There is bound to be one in or near your town, but if you are interested in helping others, this is a great way to do it. I found myself at a local event to stop bullying, and winded up looking for other events near me to attend. The rewards are twofold.

Raises Awareness

Do you have a cause or subject near and dear to you, then chances are there is some sort of walkathon somewhere to support it. Be it cancer awareness, domestic violence, anti-bullying, anti-discrimination, fight against AIDS, fight against hate, or any other worthwhile area that needs to raise funds as well as awareness there is bound to be one of these events. Why is that? Because they accomplish so many things and bring attention to subjects that need to be discussed.

Raises Funds

Even though most charitable work is run by volunteers, money is still needed to get the word out, print stuff, medical research, advertising, transportation, and so on. Walking events typically have a small entrance fee of around $20, which may get you a shirt or some food as well. There are also booths there with additional items that you can purchase with proceeds going to the charity to carry on their work. It usually is a small price to pay compared to the impact that it can have.

What Participation Can Do For You

While it is great to do something for others, being active in these events can do wondrous things for yourself as well. This is something that I did not anticipate, but they ended up being a delightful bonus that made the entire experience even better.

First, it is a great way to be social with other caring and selfless people. You can connect with other people who may share some of the same experiences associated with the cause you are walking for. I have met many new people that I now consider friends, some of which I have travelled with to other events.

Another great aspect of these types of events is that you can bring your entire family. There is no age limit, and we have even purchased a jogging stroller so that our youngest one can also get involved with us. After two of these events where I walked by myself, I saw other families with their kids and knew that I just had to do that too. I did some research by reading all of the latest running stroller reviews and bought one that had all of the features that I wanted in a jogger that was within my budget.? The next month we were able to use in an event just down the road from us. Let me tell you, it was so much fun and it really enhanced the entire event for me. Having a running stroller is something that I never envisioned getting when I was pregnant, but now that I have one I can’t imagine life without it.

Another positive aspect is of course going to be pretty obvious, but you get some exercise. Most of these do have a competition for serious runners, but they are a smaller group. Most of the people there move at their own pace and are there to help raise awareness and to socialize and have a good time, and there is nothing wrong with that. But being out in the fresh air and moving brings its own benefits that can last a lifetime.

Where To Find Local Events

One of the best places is to check the local chapters of charities near you. The local paper is also a great place to keep an eye on things. Most of these take place during the spring or summer when the weather is not too cold or too hot, so this is the time of year to be on the lookout. It may take some online research as well, but it is well worth it. You are doing good, which in the end will make you feel good.

A part of me almost feels selfish because of everything that I personally get out of these types of gatherings, but in the end it is all for a good cause, which makes me feel even better. Get out of that chair of yours and get involved because everyone has so much to gain.