What Is Psychotic Depression?
Roughly 25% of people who are admitted to the hospital
suffer from what's called psychotic
depression. In addition to the symptoms of depression, psychotic
depression includes some features of psychosis -- like
hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren't really
there) or delusions (irrational thoughts and fears).
How Is Psychotic Depression Different Than
Other Mental Illness?
While people with other mental illness, like
, also experience these symptoms, those with
psychotic depression are usually aware that these thoughts
aren't true. They may be ashamed or embarrassed and try to hide
them, sometimes making this type of depression difficult to
diagnose. Having an episode of psychotic depression increases
your risk of
bipolar depression, recurring episodes of psychotic
depression, and suicide.
What Are the Symptoms of Psychotic
Symptoms that occur commonly in psychotically
depressed patients include:
How Is Psychotic Depression Treated?
Treatment for psychotic depression requires a longer
hospital stay and close follow-up by a mental health
professional. Combinations of
antidepressants and antipsychotic medications have been most
effective in easing symptoms. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
may also be used to treat psychotic depression.
What Is the Outlook for People With Psychotic
Treatment is very effective for psychotic
depression, and people are able to recover, usually within a
year, but continual medical follow-up may be necessary. It is
important, however, that a person experiencing these symptoms be
properly diagnosed because treatment is different than for other
major depressive illnesses and risk of suicide is greater.
Reviewed by the doctors at
The Cleveland Clinic Department of Psychiatry and Psychology.
Medically reviewed by
Cynthia Haines, MD, July 2005.
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Inc. All rights reserved.
Last Editorial Review: 11/28/2005