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While depression is often associated with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of energy or motivation, it can manifest in many different forms. One such form is agitated depression, a subtype of major depressive disorder characterized by agitation and restlessness alongside the typical symptoms of depression. As this type of depression is less well-known, it can be challenging to recognize and diagnose, often leading to prolonged suffering and decreased quality of life. In this blog post, we will explore agitated depression, its symptoms, and how to cope with this condition.

What is Agitated Depression?

Agitated depression, also known as mixed depression or dysphoric mania, is a subtype of major depressive disorder characterized by the presence of agitation and restlessness in addition to the usual depressive symptoms. This type of depression is not a separate diagnosis but a specifier used to describe a particular presentation of depression. It is important to note that agitated depression is distinct from bipolar disorder, though it can share some similarities.

Symptoms of Agitated Depression

If you suspect that you or a loved one may be experiencing agitated depression, it is crucial to understand and recognize the symptoms. In addition to the common symptoms of depression, such as persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, and changes in appetite and sleep patterns, individuals with agitated depression may exhibit the following signs:

1. Restlessness

Those with agitated depression often constantly need to move or fidget, finding it difficult to sit still for extended periods.

2. Irritability

Increased irritability and a short temper are common in agitated depression, leading to conflicts with loved ones and colleagues.

3. Racing thoughts

Individuals with this type of depression may experience racing thoughts, making it difficult to concentrate and complete tasks.

4. Impulsivity

Agitated depression can lead to impulsive behavior, such as making rash decisions or engaging in risky activities without considering the consequences.

5. Insomnia

Difficulty falling or staying asleep is a common symptom of agitated depression, further exacerbating feelings of restlessness and irritability.

Learning to Cope

If you or someone you know is struggling with agitated depression, seeking professional help from a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, is essential. Treatment options may include a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.

1. Medication

Antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are commonly prescribed for depression. In cases of agitated depression, a doctor may also prescribe mood stabilizers or anti-anxiety medications to help manage agitation and restlessness.

2. Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT) have been proven effective in treating depression. These types of therapy can help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and improve communication skills to manage their symptoms better.

3. Lifestyle Changes

Incorporating regular exercise, improving sleep habits, and maintaining a healthy diet can all contribute to improved mental health. Learning and practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, can help manage agitation and restlessness.

4. Support

Building a strong support network of friends, family, and mental health professionals is crucial in managing agitated depression. Sharing your experiences and feelings with those you trust can provide relief and help you feel less alone in your struggles.


Agitated depression is a challenging and often misunderstood form of major depressive disorder. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking appropriate treatment is crucial for improving mental health and quality of life. With the right combination of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and support, individuals with agitated depression can learn to manage their symptoms and live full, satisfying lives.

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, don’t wait to seek help. Positive Reset, a leading provider of addiction treatment and outpatient services for behavioral health, is here to support you. Our team of professionals is certified by Medicare and licensed by the State of New Jersey, offering expert care to those in need. Contact us today to learn more about our depression treatment in New Jersey and take the first step towards a positive reset.