As the stigma of mental health issues dwindles, we are all more aware of the signs of depression: feeling worthless, helpless, sad, and lethargic. However, there is a subset of people with depression that don’t appear to be fatigued or slow down, which can make the depression harder to identify. The longer the diagnosis takes, the more implications on your personal and professional life. Here is what we know about agitated depression:
What is Agitated Depression?
It’s a severe clinical depression called a mixed feature, mixed state, or psychomotor agitation depression. It’s not an official type of depression, but one significant feature that can change your presentation of the disorder. It can overlap with anxiety and bipolar disorders as well. Other mental health issues can feature depression, such as ADHD, autism, substance use disorders, dementia, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and personality or psychotic disorders.
Patients with agitated depression can be aggressive, get angry quickly, and feel out of control. Because of this, they can experience sudden violent outbursts, which can frighten their loved ones and delay their diagnosis.
What are the Symptoms of Agitated Depression?
Common symptoms of depression include a low mood or sadness, unexplained fatigue, sleep disturbances, weight changes, lack of interest in hobbies or friends, trouble concentrating or completing tasks, and feeling empty, hollow, or worthless. When you have agitated depression, you can experience some of the above symptoms, but you will also exhibit some of the following:
- Excessive Energy or Movement
- Fidgeting, Nail Biting, Hand-Wringing, Picking at Skin, Hair, or Clothes
- Racing Thoughts and Incessant or Quick Talking
- Outbursts of Complaining, Shouting, or Other Disruptive Behavior
- Repetitive Shuffling of Feet, Pacing, Rocking, or Other Movements
- Tension and Clenching Fists, Jaw, or Grinding Teeth
- Extreme Annoyance at Little Things
- Irritability, Anger, and Anxiety
The conflicting feelings of fatigue and racing thoughts can be hard to deal with, leading to an agitated state. Once you get your depression under control, it’s crucial to learn coping skills to keep the agitation, irritation, and anger at bay. Typically, avoiding stressful situations will help keep those symptoms in check.
Learning to Cope
Because the agitated depression symptoms can be aggressive, they are more likely to drive people away. This can harm your social life and career, putting you at risk for more depressive episodes. It’s essential to learn coping mechanisms, typically with the support of a mental health professional.
1. Take Care of Your Basic Needs
Ensure you get enough sleep, eat filling, nutritious meals, stay hydrated, and exercise to help mitigate your depression and agitation. Getting hangry is a real thing, and other feelings of discomfort can increase your irritability. Avoiding substances that have agitating or depressive effects, such as marijuana or alcohol, will also help.
2. Deescalation Techniques
If something has happened with someone that makes you feel annoyed or angry, take some time to calm down before trying to discuss it. Practice self-calming techniques to prevent your feelings from spiraling or thoughts from snowballing. It may be helpful to speak to your counselor or a trusted friend to help you gain perspective and keep your emotions under control.
3. Self-Calming Techniques
Move to a private area and practice deep breathing or escape for a walk outdoors. Listen to a soothing playlist or find a hobby you can do that helps you take your mind off your feelings. Do a daily mind dump where you jot down all your racing thoughts and worries without trying to organize them or “journal.” It will help you de-stress and let them go so that you can move on with your day.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing depression. Your triggers will be different from someone else’s, and so will your calming techniques. You may find your flow state from doing crosswords while someone else will calm down tending to their garden. Be willing to try various approaches to find what works best for you. Keep a record of what you’ve tried and how you feel so that you can identify the best strategies for you.
Neuro Treatments for Agitated Depression
The traditional talk therapy and antidepressant medication combination effectively treat agitated depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the better options as it helps you identify your negative reactivity or destructive thoughts and behaviors and learn how to change them. Extreme cases could benefit from electroconvulsive therapy. However, there is another option.
TMS is an advanced depression therapy that uses magnetic pulses on your scalp to help stimulate the parts of your brain associated with emotional regulation and depression. It doesn’t have the side effects of antidepressants and can actually provide relief before you start to feel the effects of medication. It’s the perfect treatment option when you feel out of control or struggle to continue your daily tasks because of depression. Search for “TMS therapy for depression near me” to find the nearest providers for a consultation today.