A psychiatrist can diagnose agitated depression. They’ll do this through talk therapy and observing your mannerisms and mood. Your doctor may also order a blood test to rule out other potential causes of irritability, like vitamin deficiencies or hormone imbalances.
Your doctor will also rule out other types of depression and bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is often characterized by mood swings and sometimes irritability.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), a diagnosis of agitated depression is based on the following:
*You have experienced at least one major depressive episode.
*You have at least two of the following symptoms:
psychomotor agitation, or physical symptoms of agitation and restlessness
racing or crowded thoughts
psychic agitation, or intense inner tension
*You doctor may diagnosis you with depression first, and agitated depression later.
Agitated depression treatment
Agitated depression is often treated with a combination of treatments that may include:
*electroconvulsive therapy, in extreme cases
Medications can help stabilize your mood. Your therapist may prescribe one or more of the following:
In many cases, finding the right medication, dosage, or combination of medications will take some time.
Medications must be used carefully in cases of agitated depression. They may have the opposite effect on those with agitated depression than on those with typical depression.
Psychotherapy is an essential part of treating any type of mood disorder. Your therapist can help you identify your triggers. They’ll also help you develop coping mechanisms and habits to help you manage your symptoms.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is often used for agitated depression. In CBT, your therapist will have you talk through your problems and feelings. And you’ll work together on changing thoughts and behaviors.
If needed, your therapist may use de-escalation techniques, such as:
*speaking in a slow, soft voice
*giving you space
*offering you a quiet place to calm down
In many cases, a combination of therapy and medications is the most effective treatment for agitated depression.
Outlook for agitated depression
Agitated depression is a severe form of depression. It may have a higher likelihood of self-harm or suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It’s important to get treatment as early as possible.
The right treatment can help you manage agitated depression. It’s important to maintain treatment even after you recover from your depressive episode. Taking medications infrequently or not maintaining treatment can cause a relapse. It can also make the next episode of agitated depression more difficult to treat.