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5 things you need to know about psychotic depression

Psychotic depression, also known as a major depressive disorder with psychotic features, is a severe mental health condition that requires immediate diagnosis and treatment from medical or mental health professional. Studies show 20 percent of people who have major depression can also experience the symptoms of psychosis.

This combination of two mental health disorders is referred to as psychotic depression, but the technical term used in psychiatry is major depression with psychotic features.

Psychotic depression is a common mental health disorder that has a negative impact on mood and behavior, and physical health, including appetite and sleep. People who have psychotic depression or major depression lose interest in activities, have trouble concentrating and performing everyday activities.

Delusions and hallucinations characterize the two types of major depressive disorder, a major depressive disorder with mood-congruent psychotic features or a major depressive disorder with mood-incongruent psychotic features. However, the symptoms of either type are particularly dangerous, as the delusions and hallucinations can increase the risk of suicide.

1) What are the symptoms of Psychotic Depression?

People with psychotic depression can experience the symptoms of major depression, along with psychosis.

The symptoms of major depression include:

  • fatigue

  • irritability

  • Trouble concentrating

  • feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

  • social isolation

  • loss of interest in activities

  • sleeping too much or too little

  • changes in appetite

  • sudden weight loss or weight gain

  • Suicidal thoughts

The symptoms of psychosis are dangerous and should be diagnosed and treated immediately. These include:

  • delusions,

  • hallucinations, or

  • seeing and hearing things that are not real.

2) What are the risk factors for psychotic depression?

Studies estimate that almost 3% to 11% of people can experience severe depression during their lifetime, and 14.7 percent to 18.5 percent out of those who experience severe clinical depression can develop depression with psychotic features.

Some of the risk factors that can make you more vulnerable to depression include:

  • Having a close relative, parent, or sibling who has depression can increase your risk of developing depression. Genetic factors are often linked to the prevalence of depression.

  • Women are twice as more likely to develop depression as compared to men. Women comprise two-thirds of the people who develop severe depression.

  • People who have experienced trauma during their childhood are also more likely to develop depression.

3) What causes Psychotic Depression?

The exact cause of psychotic depression is still unknown. However, people who have an immediate family member or a personal history of mental health disorders are more likely to develop psychotic depression. People can experience psychotic depression individually or in combination with another psychiatric condition. Studies also show that stress, changes in hormones in the body, and genetic factors that have an impact on the production of certain chemicals in the brain can also increase the probability of developing psychotic depression.

4) How to diagnose Psychotic Depression?

Psychotic depression is a severe mental health condition that can lead a person to cause harm to themselves and even others. A mental health professional should be immediately contacted on witnessing the psychotic symptoms. The doctors first check whether the person is experiencing the symptoms of major depression or psychosis, and only if a person is experiencing symptoms of both major depression and psychosis, the only psychiatric depression is suspected. Blood tests and urine tests are also conducted to ensure the existence of any other medical condition.

People who had a depressive episode that has lasted for at least two weeks or longer and have experienced five or more of the following symptoms are diagnosed with major depression:

  • agitation or slow motor function

  • changes in appetite

  • Weight gain or weight loss

  • depressed mood

  • Trouble concentrating

  • sleeping too much or too little

  • a lack of interest activities

  • low energy levels

  • Suicidal thoughts

People who show these symptoms of major depression, as well as signs of psychosis, such as delusions and hallucinations, are diagnosed with psychotic depression.

5) How to treat Psychotic Depression?

There are currently no treatments specifically approved by the FDA for treating psychotic depression. However, it can be treated with a combination of antidepressant and antipsychotic medications. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) can be used to reduce and manage the symptoms of psychotic depression who do not respond well to medications.


If you or someone you love have is experiencing the symptoms of major depression and psychosis and find it difficult to afford the treatment, you can participate in a paid clinical trial by filling this form or giving us a call on 909-423-0367. Your participation in a clinical trial does not only benefit other patients and prospect treatments for several diseases, but you can also get early access to medicines that are not yet available for the general public. You are also financially compensated for your time and effort.

Your participation in a clinical trial can help in medical advancement, and clinical research studies cannot be conducted without you. If you are someone living with a severe mental health disorder, then you can participate in clinical trials, Colton, California.



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