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  • Sometimes, symptoms of depression are accompanied by signs of aggression, which can signify agitated depression.
  • Agitated depression isn’t a distinct depression type, but rather a clearer explanation for cases of depression that also include acts of aggression.
  • Symptoms include your normal depression symptoms, like depressed mood and lack of interest in day to day activities, as well as angry outburst and disruptive behavior.
  • Agitated depression can severely affect your life, as those around you may grow uncomfortable with your aggressive behavior.
  • That said, there is treatment for agitated depression: counseling, medication, and self-care activities all prove helpful.

You can’t suppress your negative feelings any longer—you slam your fist down on the desk and let out a heavy sigh. Everyone in the office turns to look at you, some annoyed, some concerned. You’re sure they assume that you’re frustrated with your work and lashing out in anger. In reality, your work is going just fine. It’s everything else that isn’t: you feel depressed, uninterested, fatigued, and you can’t even get a little shut eye at night. You’ve been doing your best to cope, but it’s become too overwhelming—you can’t help but act out in rage.

Are you experiencing symptoms of depression, but also displaying signs of aggression? You might have agitated depression, or what is sometimes described as distraught depression. Let’s discuss the symptoms and effects of agitated depression, as well as effective treatment methods:

What Is Agitated Depression? Do I Have It?

Agitated depression isn’t a distinct form of depression, but rather helps to describe the experience of the individual with depression as well as serious aggression. “Sometimes, expelling sad emotions comes through a pathway of rage instead of sadness,” Dr. Fran Walfish, family and relationship psychotherapist, explains. So, let’s first look at the symptoms and diagnostic criteria for depression:

  • Depressed mood or loss of interest/pleasure in life for at least two weeks
  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or irritability
  • Lack of interest in daily activities
  • Significant weight loss or changes in appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Suicidal thoughts

To be diagnosed with depression, one must experience the first item on this symptom list, as well as at least five others. Now, those with what some call agitated depression may also experience or display the following:

  • Angry or violent outbursts
  • Tension
  • Clenching fists
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Excessive talking

How Can Agitated Depression Disrupt My Life?

Agitated depression can make one feel completely helpless and out of control. Subsequently, they might engage in aggressive acts more frequently, as they continue to lose hope. This can have a serious effect on both their personal and professional life: friends and family might feel unsafe or uncomfortable around the angry or violent person, and colleagues might grow annoyed or frustrated with their overly talkative, tense coworker.

Fortunately, individuals with agitated depression can manage these symptoms and learn to act more appropriately. The first step, according to Dr. Walfish, is accepting their feelings as they come instead of feeling guilty about them or reacting too quickly. “It is very important to adopt the belief that all of your feelings are acceptable. There is no right or wrong when it comes to emotions. Feelings change from moment to moment,” she explains.

Treatment for and Healing From Agitated Depression

You can start to heal from agitated depression by following Dr. Walfish’s advice and learning to truly feel your feelings. That said, if you think that you have agitated depression or are experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important you seek professional help. The good news is there are several methods of treatment that prove effective:

1. Counseling for agitated depression:

Counselors can help you to identify negative thinking patterns that can lead to or exacerbate depressive symptoms of agitated activity. Your counselor will steer you away from these thoughts and help you adopt more positive thoughts and behaviors.

2. Medication:

Your physician or psychiatrist can prescribe a medication that will relieve you from the symptoms of depression. Often, this is an antidepressant. However, if you don’t respond well to antidepressants, there are a variety of other drugs that can help you feel better.

3. Self-care:

In addition to professional treatment, you can also work on your own to relieve the harmful symptoms of depression. Self-care activities like meditation, journaling, exercising, and breathing techniques can help you cope.

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is a staff writer at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

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