What is Agitated Depression?
Agitated depression (also known as dysphoric mania, or mixed episode) is quite a different form. It doesn’t involve common symptoms of fatigue or sadness. It is a state wherein the depressive symptoms and mania occur simultaneously. As the name suggests, it involves those feelings which are often synonymous to agitation such as anger, restlessness, rage, outbursts of complaining, anxiety, shouting, insomnia, irritation, paranoia, racing thoughts, suicidal ideation and unspecified panic attacks. People suffering from this disorder tend to behave in an anger mode like pulling hair, rubbing skin, wringing hands, pacing and incessant talking.
- It can affect any age group of adults.
- This mental illness is quite common among Americans especially the older ones.
- Most scientific studies have included that financial and relationship problems can lead a person fall into agitated depression.
- Chronic illness or any recent trauma like the loss of a dear one can also cause this illness.
It can be classified into three types which are as follows:
- Psychotic – This is considered as a severe form of melancholia.
- Non-psychotic – In this type, the person suffers from a moderate depression along with the agitated symptoms.
- Excited – This type involves racing thoughts and psychic agitation.
Agitated Depression Symptoms
In order to be diagnosed for this illness, the person must display some symptoms from the following list for atleast a week.
- Racing thoughts
- Psychic agitation
- Excessive talking
- Inability to sit still
- Lots of tension and stress
- Sudden outbursts of anger
- Complaining frequently
Agitated Depression Causes
It is caused by various neurological or psychiatric factors which are as follows:
- Excessive use of drugs or alcohol
- Chronic illness
- Bipolar affective disorder
- Relationship problems
- Loss of a loved one
- Excessive work stress
- Diseases related to central nervous system
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Brain tumor
- Brain abscess
- Heart and lungs diseases
Agitated Depression and ADHD
A study conducted on ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) puts forward that ADHD can be one form of agitated depression. This study was conducted in the year 2006 by Burton Norman Seitler (Ph.D). The findings were published under the title “On the Implications and Consequences of a Neurobiochemical Etiology of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.” According to Burton, the symptoms of ADHD like restlessness, difficulty in staying at one task, excessive fidgeting, attention problems, etc. were found quite similar to this disorder. He also found large number of ADHD children exhibiting excess sadness and agitated behavior.
It is always difficult to diagnose psychological disorders within you or somebody else on your own. Hence, if you find that you/somebody else is displaying changed behavior from over a week, you should immediately consult a psychologist or a psychiatrist. There are a number of social, psychological and somatic factors that can trigger illness in an individual. Therefore it is extremely important to get it well diagnosed by a heath care professional.
According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), person suffering from this mental disorder must exhibit symptoms of mania and major depression everyday for atleast a week.
Your doctor can carry out blood test to rule out the options of infection, vitamin deficiency and hormonal imbalance that trigger agitation. In some cases, he might also take help of other diagnostic tools like urine samples, x-rays, spinal tap, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and other vital signs to narrow down the possibilities.
Agitated Depression Treatment
It can be treated in a number of ways. Depending upon the severity level of the individual, the treatment given can vary from person to person.
- The patient might be given anti-depressant drugs, anti-psychotics, anti-convulsants or sedatives.
- Psychotherapy is also a good option that doctors might consider for long term treatment.
- In certain cases, doctors might recommend a combination of medications and psychotherapy treatment.
- Use of mood stabilizers can also prove to be effective in some patients.
- Healthy diet plan and regular exercises can also work miracles in curing this.
In this mental illness, the agitation among patients often makes them ignore taking proper medication on time. This makes the overall treatment difficult.
Agitated depression is an extremely severe form of illness. Relatives and family members should take extreme care of the patients suffering from this disorder. If they do not receive proper attention, then excessive stress at work and in personal life can worsen their current behavior. In extreme cases, it can also lead the patient engage in risky behavior like committing suicide.
It is therefore highly recommended that if you find anyone around you to be overly aggressive in almost all situations, you should arrange for an appointment with a doctor. In such cases, delay to consult doctor can lead to adverse effects. Self treatment or analysis of the illness at home won’t help in such situations.
With timely medication and proper treatment, the patient can recover in due time.