Psychotic depression; Delusional depression
Major depression with psychotic features is a mental disorder in which a person has depression along with loss of touch with reality (psychosis).
The cause is unknown. A family or personal history of depression or psychotic illness makes you more likely to develop this condition.
People with psychotic depression have symptoms of depression and psychosis.
Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality. It usually includes:
The types of delusions and hallucinations are often related to your depressed feelings. For example, some patients may hear voices criticizing them, or telling them that they don't deserve to live. The person may develop false beliefs about their body, for example that they have cancer.
For information on symptoms of depression, see: Major depression
Your health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms. Your answers and certain questionnaires can help your doctor diagnose this condition and determine how severe it may be.
Blood and urine tests and possibly a brain scan may be done to rule out other medical conditions with similar symptoms.
Psychotic depression requires immediate medical care and treatment.
Treatment usually involves antidepressant and antipsychotic medication. You may only need antipsychotic medication for a short period of time.
Electroconvulsive therapy can help treat depression with psychotic symptoms. However, medication is usually tried first.
This is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment and close monitoring by a doctor. You may need to take medication for a long time to prevent the depression from coming back. Depression symptoms are more likely to return than the psychotic symptoms.
The risk of suicide is much higher in people with depresison with psychotic symptoms than in those without psychosis. You may need to stay in the hospital if you have thoughts of suicide. The safety of others must also be considered.
If you have thoughts of suicide or harming yourself or others, immediate call your local emergency number (such as 911) or go to the hospital emergency room.
You may also call a suicide hotline from anywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-999-9999.
Call your doctor right away if:
Fava M, Cassano P. Mood disorders: Major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder. In: Stern TA, Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Biederman J, Rauch SL, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 29.
American Psychiatric Association. Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder, third edition. Arlington (VA): American Psychiatric Association; 2010 Oct. 152 p.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885