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People with psychotic depression experience paranoid hallucinations, like hearing voices, and delusions. Learn more about psychotic depression and treatment options here.
Transcript: What happens when a depressed person loses touch with reality, the cause may be a serious condition called...
What happens when a depressed person loses touch with reality, the cause may be a serious condition called Psychotic Depression. Psychotic Depression occurs when a person with severe depression also experiences psychosis, characterized by hallucinations that involve seeing or hearing things that don't actually exist, as well as delusional thoughts, which most often entail various irrational beliefs, thoughts and fears. The subject matter of hallucinations and delusions often reflects the sufferer's depressed mood. For example, people with Psychotic Depression may see frightening images such as an apparition of the devil, hear voices that insult them, or that urge them to harm themselves or others. People with Psychotic Depression may also: think they're dying of a serious medical illness; become unreasonably distrustful, often believing that others "hear" their thoughts or want to kill them; or believe themselves to be a famous person or guilty of a crime they didn't commit. Other symptoms of Psychotic Depression may include anxiety, insomnia, poor concentration, sudden outbursts of anger, constipation, physical immobility and extreme self-neglect. Psychotic Depression typically requires immediate medical attention, because sufferers may be unwilling or unable to take care of themselves, as well as to prevent self-harm or harm to others. Approximately one-fourth of people who are admitted to the hospital for depression suffer from Psychotic Depression. While the exact cause of Psychotic Depression is unknown, research shows an association with elevated levels of Cortisol, a hormone produced in large quantities during times of significant stress. With Psychotic Depression, natural Cortisol production may be off kilter, leading to psychosis. And, while no specific risk factors for Psychotic Depression have been identified, people who have a family history of depression are more likely to be affected. Unlike other types of mental illness involving hallucinations and delusions, like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, sufferers of Psychotic Depression are often aware that the things they see and hear are not real. This may result in embarrassment and attempts to hide symptoms, making diagnosis difficult. The first step in diagnosing Psychotic Depression often involves seeing a doctor for a physical exam and blood tests to rule out any medical conditions or drug reactions that could be causing the symptoms. It is also essential to have a complete mental health evaluation to differentiate Psychotic Depression from other mental disorders that cause breaking with reality, and from other types of depression. This is because treatment differs from other depressive illnesses, and risk of suicide is greater. Psychotic Depression can be treated successfully. However, it is not as responsive to psychotherapy as other forms of depression. Also, antidepressants alone are typically not sufficient. As a result, treatment generally involves a combination of antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs to effectively control symptoms. ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) may be used and can be very effective. But it typically is only used to treat extreme conditions that have not responded to other courses of treatment. Most people recover from Psychotic Depression within a year. However, it's often necessary to continue the medication regimen and receive ongoing professional follow-up, as the risk of depressive symptoms returning is higher than a return of the psychotic symptoms. If you think you or someone know may be suffering from Psychotic Depression, please consult your doctor or a mental health professional.More »
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Change is hard, and sometimes it can lead to situational depression. Adjustment disorder, or situational depression, is often short-term but professional help can smooth painful transitions.
Transcript: Sometimes, a significant life change or problem can be so overwhelming that it results in anxiety, depression...
Sometimes, a significant life change or problem can be so overwhelming that it results in anxiety, depression and inability to go about daily activities, at which point it becomes Adjustment Disorder. Adjustment Disorder, often called Situational Depression, is a relatively common short-term condition that occurs when a person has an abnormal and excessive reaction to a particular stressor, positive or negative, such as a major life event, loss of a loved one or any unexpected change. Most people are able to adjust to stressful events within a few months. With Adjustment Disorder, however, sufferers are unable to cope with the stress and may experience a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms of Adjustment Disorder vary according to the intensity of the triggering situation, as well as the personal significance it has for a particular individual, but may include sadness, anxiety, hopelessness and loss of interest in everyday activities. Adjustment Disorder may also cause physical symptoms ranging from headaches and stomachaches to agitation, palpitations, lethargy and twitching. A number of behavioral symptoms may be present as well, such as changes in eating and sleeping habits, difficulty concentrating, isolation, missing work and engaging in destructive or reckless behavior such as using alcohol or drugs. These symptoms typically begin within three months of the stressful event and seldom last longer than six months beyond the original incident that triggered the stress. The circumstances triggering Adjustment Disorder include virtually any situation an individual perceives as stressful, from positive events like getting married or having a baby, to financial difficulties, divorce, job loss, serious illness, unexpected tragedy, or a disastrous event such as an earthquake, fire or flood. While Adjustment Disorder can affect anyone of any age, and is typically experienced equally by both men and women, it occurs most commonly during times of major life transitions such as during adolescence, middle age and in the elderly. An individual's susceptibility to Adjustment Disorder may also involve changes in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, which helps regulate mood. Personality, temperament, well-being, life experiences and family history are each thought to play a role as well. In many cases, the symptoms of Adjustment Disorder are resolved on their own through the individual's gradual adaptation to the stressful situation or event. But if symptoms become so overwhelming that it becomes difficult to get through the day, it's wise to see your doctor. There are no clinical tests for Adjustment Disorder, but it's important to rule out any medical conditions that could be causing your symptoms. It's likely that your doctor will refer you to a mental health professional. Diagnosing Adjustment Disorder involves meeting criteria stated by the American Psychiatric Association in the DSM IV manual. Your mental health professional will need to confirm the presence of emotional or behavioral symptoms occurring within three months of a stressful event including marked distress in excess of what would typically be expected by the particular stressor, and a significant impairment in functioning. Treatment for Adjustment Disorder typically includes supportive psychotherapy that assists sufferers in putting the stressor in perspective and helps optimize coping skills. Anti-anxiety medications may be suggested for short-term relief of anxiety or insomnia. Some sufferers find it helpful to discuss their feelings in a support group setting with others who are coping with similar situations. Family therapy may be beneficial as well. Fortunately, Adjustment Disorder typically gets better within six months without any remaining symptoms. If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from Adjustment Disorder, please consult a mental health professional.More »
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Despite its name, atypical depression is pretty common. Some of the symptoms include bipolar-like modds swings. More symptoms are explained in this video.
Transcript: Do you feel happy in positive situations yet slip into a dark, depressed mood as soon as you feel alone...
Do you feel happy in positive situations yet slip into a dark, depressed mood as soon as you feel alone or rejected? You may be suffering from Atypical Depression. Although its name implies Atypical Depression is unusual, it is actually one of the most common types of depression. What distinguishes Atypical Depression from other types of depression is what's called "mood reactivity," meaning sufferers experience both high or lows depending upon a particular situation. In contrast to most types of depression where sufferers may experience persistent sadness and an inability to enjoy normal activities even when good things happen, people with Atypical Depression experience pleasure in positive interactions or events, along with brightening of their mood. People with Atypical Depression also tend to be extremely sensitive and react intensely to any situation they perceive as negative. As a result, they may experience severe depressive symptoms in response to rejection of a friend or lover, or even constructive criticism from a coworker. Other common symptoms of Atypical Depression include: overeating accompanied by cravings for carbohydrates and sweets, weight gain, oversleeping, and what is often described as a "leaden-like" quality that may make sufferers feel weighed down and unable to move. Atypical Depression often begins in adolescence and, untreated, may continue into adulthood. As a result, people with this form of depression are often unaware of their mood swings, and may also be at an increased risk for panic attacks or a major depressive episode. While the precise cause of Atypical Depression is unknown, experts have identified numerous factors that may play a role in its development including: a family history of depression; previous mental, physical or sexual abuse; and alcohol or drug abuse. Atypical depression also occurs significantly more frequently in women than in men, with more than 70 percent of sufferers being female. Atypical Depression has also been associated with changes in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, which helps regulate mood and emotions. Like other forms of depressive illness, Atypical Depression can interfere with daily life. For example, oversleeping and sluggishness may affect home and work responsibilities, while mood swings can cause difficulties in personal and professional relationships. Often, the first step in resolving Atypical Depression is seeing your family doctor, who can rule out medical causes like low levels of thyroid hormone, which can cause depression and weight gain. Based on the results, you may be referred to a mental health professional. Diagnosing Atypical Depression involves meeting criteria stated by the American Psychiatric Association in the DSM IV-TR manual. The criteria include the presence of a depressed mood that readily improves in positive situations, plus any two common symptoms of Atypical Depression: interpersonal rejection, sensitivity, oversleeping, overeating and leaden paralysis. Treatment typically begins with medication, such as Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which are believed to be the most effective in treating Atypical Depression. Experts believe medication is most effective in combination with psychotherapy. If you or someone you know may have Atypical Depression, please see your doctor or a mental health professional.More »
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