Acute Depressive Episode

What is an Acute Depressive Episode?

An acute depressive episode, also referred to as an episode of major depressive disorder, is a period of time that is characterized by persistent and severe feelings of sadness and hopelessness, as well as difficulties in sleeping, concentrating, or functioning in normal daily activities. During acute depressive episodes, individuals may also experience changes in weight, fatigue, loss of interest, and even suicidal thoughts or attempts.

Signs and Symptoms of an Acute Depressive Episode

The signs and symptoms of an acute depressive episode may include:

  • Persistent and intense sadness
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and/or guilt
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of interest in activities once found pleasurable
  • Fatigue and/or loss of energy
  • Agitation, restlessness, and irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, and/or making decisions
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of suicide and/or death

It's important to note that not everyone who experiences an acute depressive episode will express all of these signs and symptoms, and some may experience only a few. Additionally, the severity of these signs and symptoms can vary by person.

Treating an Acute Depressive Episode

The first step in treating an acute depressive episode is to seek help from a mental health professional. They can provide treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, supportive psychotherapy, and/or medication. A doctor can also provide lifestyle recommendations to help reduce symptoms, such as improving dietary habits or engaging in physical activity. They may also refer individuals to community resources such as support groups, where they can connect with others who are dealing with mental health struggles.

It is also important to understand that acute depressive episodes can take time to treat, so it is important to remain patient and focus on self-care while working towards recovery. With proper treatment and self-care, it is possible to reduce and manage symptoms, allowing individuals to lead happier and healthier lives.