What are psychotic characteristics of depression

Mental health
Coping with Depression and Anxiety Disorder

There are different types of depressive disorder. The symptoms range from relatively weak (but still physically restrictive) to very severe. It is therefore helpful to know the different disorders and their specific symptoms.

Major depression

Major depression manifests itself primarily as feeling depressed and / or losing interest in and enjoyment of ordinary activities. Symptoms appear most days and last at least two weeks. Symptoms of depression affect all areas of life, including work and social relationships, and can be mild, moderate, and severe.

Psychotic depression

In some cases, people with a depressive disorder lose consciousness of reality and develop psychosis. These include hallucinations (believing that you are seeing or hearing something that is actually not there) or delusions (unrealistic assumptions that are not confirmed by others), as well as the belief that you are bad or that you are being watched respectively pursued. Some people are also paranoid and think that everyone is against them or that they are the cause of illness or bad events in their environment.

Prenatal and Postnatal Depression

During pregnancy (prenatal period) and in the year after giving birth (postnatal period) women are at increased risk of depression. The term “perinatal” can also be found. It describes the period from pregnancy to the first year after the birth of the child.

The causes of depression during this time can be complex and are often a combination of different factors. During the days immediately after giving birth, many women experience what are known as “baby blues” - an emotional depression in the first days after giving birth. This is a condition associated with hormonal changes that affects up to 80 percent of women. “Baby blues” and the everyday stress of pregnancy and caring for a newborn are normal experiences. However, these must be distinguished from depression. Depression lasts longer and can affect not only the mother but also her relationship with the baby, the development of the child, the mother's relationship with her partner and other family members.

Almost ten percent of women suffer from depression during pregnancy. Approximately 15 to 20 percent of women experience postnatal depression in the first year after giving birth.

Depression in and after pregnancy

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar affective disorder is also known as "manic-depressive disorder" because those affected experience both depressive and manic (exaggeratedly cheerful) phases. Between these phases the state of mind can be balanced.

Mania is the opposite of depression and can vary in severity. Symptoms include feeling great, full of energy, racing thoughts and needing little sleep, speaking quickly, difficulty concentrating on tasks, frustration, and irritability. In some cases, sufferers lose touch with reality and have psychotic states. This can lead to hallucinations (seeing and hearing things that do not exist) or delusions (for example, belief in supernatural powers).

It is assumed that bipolar disorder is more often familial than other mental illnesses. In people with this predisposition, stress and conflict can trigger extreme mood changes. It also happens that bipolar disorder is mistakenly diagnosed as depression, alcohol or drug abuse, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or schizophrenia.

The diagnosis is especially difficult to make if the person concerned has not yet experienced a manic phase. It is therefore not uncommon for some people to take years to get the correct diagnosis. So if you are being treated and have experienced these mood swings, then it is important to tell your doctor or therapist. Bipolar disorder affects around two percent of the population.

Cyclothymic disorder

Cyclothymic disorder is often referred to as a less pronounced form of bipolar disorder. Sufferers have chronic mood swings for at least two years, alternating phases of hypomania (a mild to moderate level of mania) and phases of depressive symptoms. In between, very brief phases of normalcy are experienced (no longer than two months). Symptoms are shorter in duration, less noticeable, and not as regular.


So-called neurotic depression has the same symptoms as major depression. However, they are less pronounced here. In neurotic depression, however, the symptoms last longer. Dysthymia is when a person has had this milder form of depression for more than two years.

Seasonal affective disorder ("autumn-winter depression")

Seasonal affective disorder involves mood swings that depend on the seasons. The cause of the malfunction is unclear. It is assumed, however, that it is related to the changes in light in the different seasons. Mood disorders (either depressive or manic phases) that begin and end in a certain season are characteristic. The most common depression observed is that which begins with the onset of winter and ends with the end of the season. Usually the disorder is diagnosed when the person has had the same symptoms over the winter for several years. Affected people generally feel energized, sleep and overeat, gain weight, and have an appetite for carbohydrates. Seasonal affective disorder is more common in countries with shorter days and longer darkness, such as the cold climates of the northern hemisphere.

Remember, depression can be treated and there are effective treatments available. The sooner you seek help, the better.