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Treatment Options Available for Psychotic Depression

Young girl having psychotic depression

A mental illness named major depressive disorder affects more than 16 million individuals annually. As their depression worsens, a portion of this population will have psychotic symptoms (mainly delusions and hallucinations). 

If their psychosis becomes severe enough to warrant hospitalization, they may be required to be admitted. Fortunately, a long-term Psychotic depression treatment plan that combines medication and psychotherapy effectively treats psychotic depression.

What Is Psychotic Depression?

When you have major depressive disorder and experience psychosis, you develop psychotic depression, also known as a depressive disorder with psychotic characteristics. No matter how severe your major depressive illness is, if you have this condition, you might develop psychosis. 

Researchers have subsequently discovered that psychosis is not necessarily associated with severe depression, contrary to what was long believed.  Hallucinations and delusions, or the ability to perceive or feel things that aren’t real, can be symptoms of psychosis. In the case of a person who also has psychotic depression, the psychosis can have the same theme as grief, such as illusions of guilt or disease.

Symptoms Of Psychotic Depression

Depression patients can eventually progress to psychosis. However, before that occurs, they will probably become aware of additional warning signs of a severe depressive disorder, such as:

  • Loss of energy and motivation – A depressed person finds it difficult to finish even the simplest tasks since emotions of low energy and motivation always follow them.
  • Sleep disturbances – A decline in sleeping patterns is a clear symptom of depression. Depressed people may have problems falling asleep, sleeping later than usual, or taking numerous, lengthy naps at unusual times.
  • Poor mental performance – People with depression often have difficulties focusing, memory issues, difficulty making decisions, and generally appear disinterested in what is happening around them.
  • Aches and pains: Depression is linked to a loss in physical health, often appearing as a list of inexplicable illnesses undiagnosed by doctors.
  • Feelings of despair and hopelessness- When people have depression, their optimism dims to a flicker, and their view on life deteriorates. Depression makes life seem strange, leaving patients lost and devoid of hope for a brighter future.

Psychotic episodes are more likely to occur as depression worsens. Psychotic break symptoms that result in personality, behaviour, and functional changes; here are some examples – 

  • Increasing anxiety and restlessness
  • Panic and anxiety attacks
  • Increasing discomfort or health problems
  • additional intellectual disability

In the last stage of psychotic depression, delusions and hallucinations will appear. Since these psychotic symptoms frequently seriously limit everyday functioning, they need immediate and intense medical care.

Causes Of Psychotic Disorder

Factors that can lead to the psychotic disorder are –

  • exposure to abuse as a child and various forms of early trauma
  • Mental illness can run in families or be inherited genetically (but especially mood disorders)
  • Prior cases of hospital mental health treatment
  • brain disorders or injuries
  • Personal experience with drugs or alcohol
  • Long-term separation from others and loneliness

Treatment Options 

Psychotic depression does not yet have a medically approved treatment. However, the first-line therapy for psychotic depression combines an antidepressant and an antipsychotic medicine.

Antipsychotic drugs like Zyprexa, Seroquel, or Risperdal could be given to patients while in the hospital. These drugs help stabilize their conditions by slowing the progression of their delusions or hallucinations.

A combination of suitable drugs, which often consists of an antipsychotic and an antidepressant, will be used in conjunction with individual, group, and family psychotherapy in structured inpatient or outpatient rehab facilities for psychotic depression. 

Adding holistic healing techniques, life skills workshops, educational opportunities, and other tailored services suggested by members of a patient’s treatment team can enhance treatment and recovery.

Psychotic depression typically requires long-term therapy due to the disorder’s incapacitating nature. It might involve a prolonged stay in residential inpatient treatment programmes (90 days or longer), as well as involvement in aftercare routines that go on for several months after the completion of official treatment.

Despite the frightening nature of this condition, people with psychotic depression who are committed to their rehabilitation programmes have a relatively good long-term outlook. Depression with psychosis is a severe condition requiring proper treatment from a trained mental health professional. 

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