Psychosis is one of the scarier and more serious forms of mental illness. A specific type of mental illness that is related is psychotic depression, which includes a variety of symptoms but can be treated. If you are the parent of a teen who you believe has some of the most notable symptoms of this illness, it’s important to not give up hope because there is help available.

When Does the Disease First Manifest?

In general, this mental illness is most closely related to psychosis and schizophrenia. It typically begins to manifest during late adolescence, which means signs and symptoms don’t show until between the ages of 15 and 19. The disease is a type of major depression that occurs when a person becomes ill with a severe depressive illness that includes a form of psychosis.

Most Common Symptoms of the Illness

There are certain symptoms you should look out for if you believe your teen suffers from this serious form of mental illness. Key symptoms include the following:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Hypochondria
  • Insomnia
  • Intellectual impairment
  • Physical immobility
  • Delusions or hallucinations

How This Form of Depression Differs from Major or Clinical Depression

The National Institute of Mental Health states that a person who suffers from psychosis is not in touch with reality and may hear voices in their head. Some may experience ideas that are illogical or strange. For instance, they may believe that other people are out to harm them or that they are possessed by the devil.

When a person suffers from psychotic depression, they may become angry for seemingly no reason. A person can also spend a lot of time alone in bed and sleep all day and then be awake all night. A person stricken by the illness may also neglect their appearance and personal hygiene by not bathing or changing their clothes.

It’s important to note that other mental illnesses, particularly schizophrenia, also bring about psychosis. However, when the psychosis is accompanied by depression, the individual typically experiences hallucinations or delusions that are characteristic of depression, such as feelings of failure or worthlessness.

Diagnosing the Illness

If your teen exhibits the symptoms associated with this form of mental illness, it is essential that you take them to a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Treatment is different than for non-psychotic depression and a single episode of the illness can increase the chance of developing bipolar disorder. Recurring episodes of the disease can also increase the risk of suicide.

How is the Illness Treated?

Normally, teens and adults who suffer from the illness are treated in a hospital setting. This is important because it ensures that the individual is closely monitored by mental health professionals around the clock. Certain medications are administered to keep the person’s mood stabilized. Generally, this type of treatment includes a combination of antidepressants and antipsychotics.

Antipsychotic medications work by affecting the neurotransmitters in the brain that allow for communication with the nerve cells. This affects the way a person perceives and evaluates information going on around them. Certain antipsychotic drugs are commonly used in the treatment of the disorder, such as quetiapine, olanzapine, caripraszine, risperidone, asenapine and aripiprazole. It’s important to know that each of these drugs have a unique set of side effects. However, drugs that are used today are generally better to tolerate than antipsychotics used in the past.

Treatment for this unique type of depression tends to be extremely effective. If your teen suffers from the disease, with the right treatment and continuous medical care, your child can recover and live a normal life. In some cases, medications may not work to end the symptoms of psychosis and depression, in which case, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be used. No matter what, it is absolutely essential to find the right treatment regimen for your teen. In general, this usually means working with the doctor to determine the medication that is most effective and that results in the least side effects.

If your child suffers from this very serious mental illness, it’s important to get them the treatment they so desperately need. Consider taking your teen to Centered Health for thorough treatment in a comfortable, fully-staffed environment that will ensure they have all their needs met. It is a facility that treats teens for mental health, behavioral and addiction issues in a safe and nurturing environment.