Living with psychosis and severe depression simultaneously is a profoundly miserable and dangerous mental, emotional, and physical predicament. Imagine the daily experience of someone suffering from this overpowering combination of mental health conditions. Fortunately, there is effective help for psychotic depression disorder. Just a generation ago, a person afflicted with these nightmarish co-occurring mental health issues would have been left without hope and likely institutionalized. But, modern treatments for the condition can enable the same person today to break free from the bewildering and deeply mentally painful experience to live a happy and productive life.  

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A woman is holding a man's hand at a mental health care facility in Utah.

If you're struggling with psychotic depression, Pathways Real Life Recovery in Sandy, Utah, is here to help! Our experienced team is dedicated to providing customized treatment plans for individuals and families. Let us help you get back on track. Call us today for a free consultation!

What is Psychotic Depression?

Psychotic depression is a form of major depressive disorder in psychotic individuals. Psychosis in the depressed person may generate hallucinations, for example, hearing voices telling him or her that he/she is useless or delusions that he/she is guilty of something bad. These kinds of breaks from reality with themes of depression define psychotic depression. Such cases reportedly account for about one-fourth of hospitalizations for depression.

Psychotic Depression vs. Other Types of Depression

People with psychotic depression share some symptoms in common with other depressive disorders. For example, they may feel anger without reason, sleep excessively, neglect hygiene, be uncommunicative, etc. But a person with psychotic depression might not make sense when talking. By definition, a person who is psychotic is out of touch with reality. He or she may experience delusions or hallucinations, thinking he/she sees, hears, smells, or feels something that is not real. Paranoia is common among people with psychosis. With psychotic depression, the delusions or hallucinations may have features that reinforce the person’s sense of worthlessness or guilt.

Psychotic Depression Symptoms

Some typical symptoms of psychotic depression can include:

    • Appetite changes

    • Agitation

    • Anxiety

    • Hypochondria

    • Constipation

    • Insomnia

    • Sleep disturbances

    • Poor concentration

    • Cognitive impairment

    • Indecisiveness

    • Fatigue (feeling exhausted)

    • Lack of a sense of pleasure

    • Feelings of worthless

    • Feelings of guilt

    • Delusions (psychosis symptom)

    • Hallucinations (psychosis symptom)

Causes of Psychotic Depression

There are many different types of triggers for depression. In many cases, major life events such as the death of a spouse, divorce, severe illness, dire financial circumstances, etc., can cause serious depression. Major depression sometimes runs in families, so genetics may be involved. But, why psychosis also develops in some people is unclear. In many cases, people with psychotic depression have experienced trauma during childhood.

Psychotic Depression Treatment

Effective treatment for psychotic depression usually includes:

    • Medication: A combination of antipsychotics and antidepressants can help relieve the symptoms of psychosis.

    • Hospitalization: Some people may be best helped in the hospital briefly during the initial treatment.

    • Psychotherapy: Talk therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), has been found to help some people with symptoms of psychosis.

    • Support: External support for employment, education, financial needs, etc.

    • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): If antidepressant medications and all other treatments have been unsuccessful, ECT may be recommended.

Treatment for psychotic depression is typically quite effective. However, follow-up examinations should be performed to help ensure sustained long-term recovery.

Drugs for Treating Psychotic Depression

Antipsychotic drugs alter the behavior of the brain’s neurotransmitters between nerve cells that are responsible for the perception and organization of information inputs. Options in medications commonly used to treat psychotic depression include: 

    • Quetiapine (Seroquel)

    • Risperidone (Risperdal)

    • Olanzapine (Zyprexa)

    • Aripiprazole (Abilify)

    • Cariprazine (Vraylar)

    • Asenapine (Saphris)

Does Treatment for Psychotic Depression Work?

Treatment for psychotic depression can be very effective. Generally, people recover within just a few months. However, ongoing medical check-ins are recommended. Doctors work to find the most compatible medication for individuals to minimize side effects. 

Treatment for Psychotic Depression – Pathways Real Life Recovery, Sandy Utah

If someone close to you is suffering from psychotic depression, treatment is critical, and it can be very effective in alleviating the symptoms of this serious mental condition. The Pathways treatment team includes M.D.s, mental health specialists, multiple types of therapy specialists, social workers, and other professionals. 

The suicide risk is high for people with psychotic depression. We offer inpatient care for our clients with severe depression to help protect their loved ones from self-harm.

For information about mental health treatment programs at Pathways Real Life Recovery, call (801) 895-3006 or contact us here online to schedule a free assessment today!