Agitated Depression: What You Need To Know:
Agitated Depression can bring sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness. Some people experience agitation and symptoms of anxiety, as well as restlessness. Although it is not a medical term for depression, some people use it to describe a combination of anxiety and depression. Mixed depression is a term that refers to a major Depressive Medication disorder with mixed characteristics. It also includes agitation, physical restlessness, and other symptoms.
In 2004, a study found that 34.7% of people suffering from major depressive disorder (or bipolar disorder) had symptoms of agitation. Major depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder can all lead to agitation.
Doctors can diagnose various mental disorders using criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
A person must have suffered from low mood, loss of interest, or loss of pleasure for at least two weeks to be diagnosed with depression.
They will also have at least five symptoms of the following:
- Nearly every day, there are feelings of sadness, hopelessness or irritability.
- A lack of interest in or enjoyment of activities almost every single day
- Significant weight loss or an increase in appetite that causes weight loss or gain of up to 5% within a single month
- Sleeping too much or too few hours
- psychomotor agitation
- Restlessness or feeling like you have “slowed down.”
- Nearly every day, fatigue or lack of energy can cause fatigue.
- Almost every day, feelings of worthlessness and excessive and unexplained guilt are felt
- Problems with thinking, concentrating, and making routine decisions
- Thoughts of suicide, self-harm or death
These are the symptoms of agitation:
- Anger Outbursts
- Impulsive or disruptive behavior
- Excessive movement or talking
- Difficulty sitting still
- Problems with Focusing and Having a Conversation
- Pacing the Feet or Moving The Feet
- Tension, Anxiety and Irritability
- Wringing the hands or clenching the fists
These symptoms can be sudden or gradual. These symptoms can range from a persistent feeling of unease to aggressive behavior. The agitation that leads to aggressive or impulsive behavior can cause harm to another person or the entire family.
Frequent agitation may affect the health of a person:
- Work or school performance
- Safety and overall health
Agitated Depression Causes:
Although agitation is not a medical condition, it could be a sign of depression or another mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Depression can be caused by biological, genetic, psychological, and environmental factors.
Other than depression and other mental conditions, there may be other causes for agitation, such as:
- Living in a New Environment
- Substance Use and Withdrawal
- Consuming Alcohol in the System
Certain medical conditions can also increase the likelihood of agitation.
- Sepsis and Infections
- Endocrine problems
- Toxin Exposure
- Electrolyte Imbalance
Some people with these conditions (e.g., dementia or substance abuse) may also experience depression and anxiety. Often, the person, their doctor and those around them don’t know why agitation occurs.
Links with Other Conditions:
Agitation is often associated with depression. However, it can also occur alongside schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dementia, or other conditions. Some of these conditions can also include depression. Agitation may also signify substance abuse disorder, personality disorder or autism.
In 2018, a 2018 study examined data from 583 individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder who also experienced agitation.
Over half of these people reported feeling this way:
- You can’t stop thinking
- Incapable of remaining still
Also, people reported feeling:
- The Short-tempered
- Wound up
- Over excited
In less than 20% of cases, respondents said that they felt:
- Man is out of control
They reported feeling more aggressive or violent less often.
The symptoms ranged from mild to severe. About half of the participants reported that they had been to the hospital for agitation in the past year. 71% of respondents were aware that they became agitated, and 61% knew their triggers. Most people said they knew how to manage their agitation. However, around 16% believed there was no way to stop it.
Bipolar disorder can present with many symptoms, but mood changes are the most prominent. This condition may also include agitation or agitated depression. Bipolar disorder can cause mood swings between low and high levels, but it is also possible to experience mixed moods. Hypomania is a low mood that is more extreme than mania. Hypomania is characterized by agitation.
It can be described as disorganized thinking, agitated movement, delusions and, in some cases, hallucinations. Schizophrenia can also include agitation. This is often a sign of schizophrenia.
A doctor should be consulted if someone is experiencing agitation, making it difficult to live a normal life, or if they are at risk of harming others. It is possible for a loved one to need help understanding how this will be helpful.
A doctor will ask the patient to describe their symptoms and may ask questions like:
- What was the first sign?
- Which is better?
- Are you reducing your alcohol intake or using other substances?
Sometimes, a friend or family member can offer support by sharing the behaviors and changes they’ve observed in the other person. The DSM 5 for depression criteria can help doctors diagnose depression and other mental health conditions, but they don’t address agitation.
Agitated Depression Treatment:
Depression that is aggravated can be treated in many ways. These are discussed in detail in the sections below.
Medications may help calm a person quickly.
- Midazolam (Versed), a benzodiazepine
- Olanzapine, also known as Zyprexa, is an antipsychotic drug
You can use these medications quickly to calm a person. These medications can temporarily provide relief.
Doctors might prescribe antidepressants and a range of medications to treat depression. A doctor can change or add another drug to the medication if these do not work. Depending on the diagnosis, the doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety Medication or mood stabilizers. Antidepressants can take up to two weeks to work. They may be required to continue for 6-12 months.
An experienced and qualified counselor can help identify thoughts and feelings that could signal depressive symptoms or agitation. Therapy can help someone to focus on positive thoughts and behavior that will help them feel better during the agitated depression.
These tips may help someone who is experiencing agitation.
- Give yourself some space. Take a walk outside, for example.
- Talk to someone trusted about any agitation or rising feelings. They may be able to help you de-escalate the situation.
- Feel any sensations of discomfort, such as hunger or thirst.
Stress Relieving Techniques:
These are some tips to help you manage stress, anxiety, and depression:
- Get enough exercise
- A healthy diet is essential
- Good sleep habits
- Deep breathing
- Spending time with friends doing fun activities
- Spend time outdoors or gardening
As each individual’s situation is unique, there is no single solution to agitated depression. The doctor will recommend several approaches to relieve agitated depression, including counseling and medication.
Sometimes it takes time to find the right combination of therapy and stress relief techniques. The person should stick to their treatment plan and consult a doctor if it is not working.
Agitation can also occur with depression or other mental health conditions. Although there is no cure for agitation, the right treatment can improve one’s quality of life. Anybody who has thoughts of suicide or is at high risk of harming others or themselves should seek emergency medical attention.