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Living in the Scary World of Hallucinations and Delusions – What is Severe Depression Disorder?

Posted Jul 29 2012 12:07pm

Depression in any form can damage the physical, mental and emotional well-being of an individual. However, there are some forms of depression in which the symptoms are not restricted to those of a depressed mind. Severe depression, better known as psychotic depression, is one such condition. What is severe depression disorder and how it enforces the patients to experience dual states of mind? Find answers to these questions from the following discussion.

Psychosis and Depression

Psychosis is a mental disorder different from depression. The patients suffering from psychotic depression have to bear the symptoms of both these conditions. Defining it in simple words, the condition tends to completely alter the thoughts of a patient, enforcing him or her to part ways with the real world.

Understanding the Symptoms

What is severe depression disorder can be best understood with the help of its symptoms. The two main psychotic symptoms of the condition are:

  • Hallucinations: These include auditory hallucinations (hearing unreal sounds and voices) and visual hallucinations (seeing unreal or imaginative things).
  • Delusions: Having unpractical thoughts like people planning against them; people taking special interests in them; unreal worries about physical appearance and so on.

The symptoms of severe depression also include those experienced by the patients suffering from major clinical depression. These are hopelessness, worthlessness, sadness, mental distress, anxiety, fatigue and loss of interest in activities. Additional symptoms reported by few patients of severe depression include confusion, scary dreams, sleeplessness and hypochondria. The patients may also experience suicidal thoughts while suffering from this condition.

The severe depression patients show dual behaviors. At a moment, they may show low mood, low energy, sadness and finished interest in living. They may become hyperactive at the very other moment after experiencing illusions and hallucinations. In other words, the patients keep on switching between the symptoms of depression and psychosis.

What Causes the Condition?

Many patients suffering from major clinical depression experience few episodes of psychosis. Prolonged depression and stress are considered the causes of severe depression. In addition, the family history of mental disorders and abnormal functioning of certain hormones too are held responsible for causing the depression. Genes have a definite role to play in introducing the condition to different individuals.

What Are the Treatment Options?

At the beginning stage of severe depression, the patients can be treated with the combination of antidepressants and anti-psychotic drugs. However, in the most severe cases, the patients need to be hospitalized. Along with medications, the treatment for severe depression called electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) must be provided. This form of treatment involves shock therapy in which the electric current is applied to the patient’s scalp in order to generate neurotransmitters from the brain. Many new treatment strategies like transcranial magnetic stimulation are being developed to address the concerning side-effects caused by ECT.

Severe depression must be taken seriously, especially due to the risk of suicide associated with the condition. The depressed patients need the support of their families and friends for effective treatment. It is important to pass the information about what is severe depression disorder to help others deal with it.

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