Treatment of Agitated Depression
Agitated depression, also known as mixed state or dysphoric mania, can be treated in several ways. There is some debate among doctors as to which treatment is the most beneficial. Most will agree though that each patient is unique and may require different tools to cope with their disorder. There are four main methods in which to survive agitated depression: medications, psychotherapy, medication combined with psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Medications should be used with extreme caution when treating agitated depression. A person suffering from this disorder may experience what is known as hypomania which will just make matters worse. This being said, there are certain medications that can be very useful in the treatment of agitated depression. Some of the most common medications used are: anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety medications. There are also natural supplements that can benefit agitated depression. Many times finding the right medication involves trial and error.
It may be that the first medication that a doctor prescribes helps relieve some of the symptoms but causes new problems to surface. In this case, the doctor will move onto the next medication or adjust the dosage. It can be quite a grueling process, but typically the right combination is within reach. It is important that the patient be mindful of any side effects, no matter how small, and to alert their doctor with this information.
Psychotherapy offers support and guidance to the patient. Think of it as a safety net; the patient is walking on the high wire of their life’s problem and the therapist is there to catch the patient if he or she falls. Sometimes, just being able to talk about what is bothering a person can relieve them of all the baggage they have. This treatment is usually the preferred method among professionals. Psychotherapy is the key to the treatment of agitated depression; although medication will initially eliminate or stabilize the agitated state, therapy will help the individual heal and ultimately lead them to recovery.
Combination of Medication and Psychotherapy
Many times medication will be used in conjunction with psychotherapy. This combination has proven to be successful in many areas of the mental health field. When it comes to agitated depression, this combination can bring some normalcy to the individual’s life. Under the watchful eye of a therapist, a person with agitated depression can experience a type of remission and live a very fruitful life. It should be noted that even if the individual seems to have improved, medication should continue to be taken. Only a doctor can determine if medication is no longer needed.
In this treatment method, electric currents are passed through the brain, initiating a brief seizure. This may sound barbaric, but it is relatively safe and is done in a controlled environment. The electric currents change the chemistry in the brain, thus relieving certain symptoms in mental disorders.
To the individual with agitated depression, these electric pulses can provide fast relief from anger, irritability, and other symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic (2010), there are some risks involved when receiving this treatment; these being: confusion, memory loss, medical complications, and physical side effects (nausea, vomiting, headache, jaw pain, muscle ache or muscle spasms).
Mayo Clinic (2010). Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): Risks. Retrieved September 4, 2010, from https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/electroconvulsive-therapy/MY00129/DSECTION=risks