What Is Agitated Depression?

What Is Agitated Depression?


Agitated depression is a type of depression that involves symptoms like restlessness and anger. People who experience this type of depression usually don’t feel lethargic or slowed-down.

Agitated depression used to be called “melancholia agitata.” It’s now known as “mixed mania” or “mixed features.” And it can be seen in people with bipolar disorder. But, psychomotor agitation can also be seen in major depressive disorder. This condition makes a person appear restless.

Agitated depression symptoms

Agitated depression can cause symptoms like insomnia and a feeling of emptiness. You may also feel severely agitated. And you may have a strong, uncomfortable feeling that seems inescapable.

Symptoms of agitated depression include:

  • extreme irritability, like snapping at friends and family, or being annoyed at small things
  • anger
  • agitation
  • fidgeting
  • racing thoughts and incessant talking
  • restlessness
  • pacing
  • hand-wringing
  • nail-biting
  • outbursts of complaining or shouting
  • pulling at clothes or hair
  • picking at skin

Some people with major depressive disorder will experience agitation. But the agitation is more severe and persistent in those with agitated depression. This condition can lead to conflicting feelings of intense restlessness and depression. People may also experience feelings of agitation or irritability along with sadness or emptiness.

People with agitated depression may be more likely to be in danger of self-injury and suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Causes and triggers of agitated depression

Common triggers or causes of agitated depression include:

In some cases, depression medications can cause agitated depression. Agitation or excitability may be side effects of medication. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience increased anxiety or irritability after starting a new medication for depression. Your doctor can help find another medication.


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