Psychotic Depression Overview


Depression has happened to most people at least once in their lifetime. The feelings of unhappiness, anxious, worrisome and tired all come together to work with depression. Depression hurts and sometimes it may seem like there is no way out. Depressive psychosis, also known as psychotic depression is a serious illness. This form of depression includes mood swings, psychotic symptoms and major depression. This type of depression should not be taken lightly but “cured” in a healthy manner. One should never judge another because they suffer from depression, especially psychotic depression.  


Those who suffer from depression should not hide their symptoms from the world. Often, those with depression feel it is best to slip away from their loved ones to avoid hurting others. Those with harmful thoughts of themselves or others may suffer from psychotic depression. Below is a compiled list of the most common symptoms that accompany psychotic depression.  

  • Detachment from reality 
  • Cognitive impairment 
  • Sadness 
  • Weight loss or gain  
  • Hallucinations 
  • Depression 
  • Paranoia  
  • Personal punishment  
  • Delusions 
  • Easily agitated 
  • Constipation 
  • Bipolar 
  • Schizophrenic tendencies 
  • Anxiety 
  • Panic Attacks 
  • Guilt 
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts 
  • Dream-like state of mind  
  • Loss of interest 
  • Inability to move 
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Isolation from others 
  • Luck of perception  
  • Hypochondriac symptoms 

Cause and Risk Factors  

At some point or another, most people feel like they are going to have a psychotic break. For those who suffer from depression, a psychotic episode may lead to psychotic depression. Listed below are some of the possible causes and risk factors of those who suffer from psychotic depression. 

  • Suffer from depression 
  • Have suffered tragic loss 
  • Problems with certain brain activity 
  • Genetic vulnerability 
  • Extremely high levels of stress and anxiety 
  • High levels of cortisol 

One might have a greater risk of developing psychotic depression because of the following: 

  • Rough upbringing: Adults who have had a difficult childhood could bring out the psychotic episodes in depression. 
  • Family members with depression: It has been stated that depression is genetic and/or “contagious”. If depression runs in the family, then one may have a higher risk of “catching” it.  
  • Women: It may seem like women get the short end of the stick because of their higher risk of depression. Clinical studies show that women are two times more likely to develop depression than men.  


For most patients with depression will have already been diagnosed properly. In order for you to be properly diagnose from psychotic depression, a doctor must determine you have both psychosis and major depression. The key elements to remember in order to be properly diagnosed should include the following: 

  • Depression 
  • Increased agitation 
  • Inability to function  
  • Guilt 
  • Trouble sleeping or staying awake  

All of the above-mentioned symptoms should occur within two weeks or more and have a minimum of five episodes.  


Unfortunately, there is no cure for psychotic depression. However, there are certain steps that one can take in order to help treat the symptoms of this form of depression. Medication is the usually the first type of treatment recommended by doctors. The types of medication that is usually prescribed are: Prozac, Risperdal and Zyprexa. These drugs are very strong and should not be taken with other medications or while driving. Antidepressants can also help with the symptoms of psychotic depression. Besides medication, doctor recommend therapy. This type of therapy is electroconvulsive therapy, ECT. A patient who chooses this form of treatment is given a short series of electrical shocks to the scalp. Using this type of treatment usually brings faster relief to the patient. There are many tests such as electrocardiogram and electroencephalogram, administered during this type of therapy. Anesthesia is also given to patients so their bodies can relax.  

Suicide Prevention 

No one should ever feel like they are alone during a difficult time in their lives. If you or someone you known may be a risk of suicide, act now! You could be saving someone’s life or even your own. The first time to do is call your local emergency contact, whether it be a hospital, doctor or ambulance. Do not yell, judge or frighten the other person. Keep away any harmful weapons or medications that could do additional harm to the person suffer from psychotic depression. Get them or yourself the proper help needed to ensure that no suicide thoughts or attacks occur again.