Someone suffering from a mixed state of depression is someone who has symptoms of both highs and lows at the same time. This condition is also referred to as a dysphoric mania or as agitated depression. This mental illness is usually a symptom of a severe bipolar condition.
An episode of mixed state depression can be very dangerous to the patient as it is literally like being up and down at the same moment. It can have symptoms like crying during a manic event or have thoughts race so fast you can barely grasp them while in a low point.
The depressive suffering a manic state will have a whole range of symptoms including feeling guilty, impulsive and useless. Their appetite and sleep patterns may change. The depressive may fly off in a rage one moment while the next be feeling confused.
A mixed state episode is a time when the depressive is most likely to abuse illicit drugs and alcohol. It is also the time during which they may contemplate committing suicide. They may even make the attempt. This is because it is such a difficult phase for the depressive to go through and can often last a week or longer.
Treatment for mixed state depression is also a difficult thing to get right. Normally antidepressants are used but sometimes the antidepressant themselves can cause a mixed state to come on. So there is often a second medication required for the person suffering with this very confusing type of depression.
The second medication can be an anticonvulsant or sometimes lithium is used. Lithium is a very popular mood stabilizer in part because it has an antidepressant component to it as well as the antimanic component.
Another thing to watch for during a mixed state episode is irrational use of money. This can be a big problem when someone goes out and shops until they are exhausted. They will often buy things they do not need and spend money they do not have.
This can then result in the realization that they have accumulated huge credit card debt which in turn will cause them more stress leading to more severe episodes of depression. Also watch that this mixed state can have a person believing they can do anything. It is the superhero phase and that too can be very dangerous for the depressive.
One other thing that may worsen a phase of mixed state depression is that some patients will stop taking their medication when they feel better. This can occur during a manic state and then when they slip into the mixed state when they really need medication they are too messed up to remember to start taking it again.
Some researchers wonder if mixed state depression is a path between the manic state and the severe state of depression. They worry that this is the body fighting the two states as it gets prepared to slip from one to the other. If so it is a very severe transition.
Did you like this article? Then you'll really want to sign up for my newsletter. It's delivered several times a week and packed with science news and analysis. Subscribe Here.