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What is Agitated Depression – Symptoms & Treatment Options

agitated depression

Depression and anxiety are a wicked combo. Either one can occur without the other, but the two conditions often work in tandem. 

For some people who experience both depression and anxiety, periods of agitation occur from time to time. 

Agitation isn’t a medical diagnosis. However, it’s a useful term for describing combined symptoms of irritability, sadness, restlessness, and other unpleasant, uneasy emotions. 

What Is Agitation?

According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance:

“An episode of agitation is characterized by excessive talking and/or unintentional and purposeless motions, like wringing of the hands or pacing, in addition to feelings of unease.”

Feelings and behaviors common to agitation include:

  • Excitement
  • Hostility
  • Poor impulse control
  • Tension
  • Uncooperativeness
  • Violent or disruptive behavior
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People experience agitation differently. An agitated person generally feels mental or emotional distress that builds and builds, with no apparent outlet for relief. 

Clinically, agitation is not its own condition. Rather, it’s a byproduct of other mental health issues such as depression or bipolar disorder. 

What is Agitated Depression?

Agitated depression, a subtype of major depressive disorder, is characterized by restless, irritable symptoms alongside typical depressive feelings. Patients often exhibit excessive movement, impulsivity, and intense emotional distress.

Tips for Managing Agitated Depression

Managing agitation or agitated depression involves identifying triggers, developing coping strategies, and preventing impulsive behavior. 

If you struggle with depression, anxiety, and agitation, here’s how you can manage the ups and downs. 

Seek Professional Mental Health Treatment

Speak to a psychiatrist or to your primary care provider about your agitated feelings. Report other symptoms that accompany agitation, such as feelings of sadness or worry. 

If you’re diagnosed with a mental health condition, you may receive a prescription to help manage your symptoms. Therapy or counseling may also be recommended. With the help of professionals, you’ll learn to recognize and respond to your agitation triggers. 

If you seek therapy, look for a therapist who is trained in de-escalation techniques that can be used for re-centering during moments of agitation. 

Create a Cool-Down Strategy to Manage Agitated Depression

Formulate a de-escalation strategy for “putting the fire out” during moments of agitation. 

Cool-down techniques may include:

  • Excusing yourself from a triggering situation
  • Repeating a calming prayer, affirmation, or mantra
  • Meditation
  • Deep breathing
  • Drinking a glass of water

De-escalation involves taking a step back from the heat of the moment and slowing down your momentary mental and physical unrest. 

Properly Use Any Medications That Are Prescribed to You 

Your mental health treatment may involve medication. If so, use your prescriptions only as advised by your doctor. Follow all instructions on the pharmaceutical label and discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor or pharmacist. 

Psychiatric medication can be life-changing, but gaining benefits from this approach requires a commitment. Stay consistent with your dosing, refill prescriptions proactively, and don’t make any changes without consulting with your doctor. 

Avoid Triggers or Sources of Conflict

Learn what situations involve conflicts or stressors that trigger your agitation. 

Make adjustments to avoid people, places, and things that set you off. When a triggering circumstance is unavoidable, plan ahead for managing the feelings that may arise. 

Take Time to Destimulate During Triggering Moments 

Overstimulation can cause agitation. You may be sensitive to relationships, settings, social events, or work-related challenges that just “feel like too much” sometimes. 

Learn to predict moments of overstimulation and respond to them in a healthy way. Provide yourself with time to relax. 

Destimulation involves separating yourself—physically, mentally, or emotionally—from your trigger. 

Simple strategies like taking a quiet lunch break in your car at work, reading before bed, or engaging in a low-intensity hobby can help you destimulate and regain a sense of emotional control. 

Get Help With Managing Agitated Depression

Depression and anxiety are two of the most commonly experienced mental health conditions. Many people dealing with one or both of these issues experience periods of agitated depression.

If you’re struggling with agitated depression or another mental health challenge, Compassion Behavioral Health is here to help. We’re located in the City of Hollywood in South Florida but serve a national client base with a variety of inpatient and outpatient solutions.

Give us a call any time at (844) 999-0874. Our experienced admissions counselors are available 24 hours/day, seven days/week for 100% confidential conversations.