Psychotic Depression vs. Schizophrenia: What is the Difference?

Psychotic depression may have some symptoms similar to schizophrenia but they are two completely different disorders. To learn the difference between psychotic depression and schizophrenia, follow this article.

Psychotic Depression vs. Schizophrenia
Psychotic Depression vs. Schizophrenia: What is the Difference?

What is the Difference between Psychotic Depression and Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia and psychotic depression are two completely different disorders that require distinct treatment paths, but their symptoms overlap a lot. 

Psychotic depression is accompanied by some symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations and delusion, which are among the most prominent symptoms of schizophrenia. 

So patients and some doctors get confused about them due to misdiagnosis. Follow this article to find out the difference between what is a psychotic break or psychotic depression and schizophrenia.

What is Psychotic Depression?

Psychotic depression is a major depressive episode that is accompanied by psychotic symptoms and requires hospitalization.

Psychotic depression is a subtype of depression, belonging to a group known as the group of mood disorders that includes a number of disorders in which symptoms of depression appear.

Psychotic depression involves a combination of clinical major depressive symptoms, with psychotic symptoms, and affects 15%-19% of major depressives. Also, this phenomenon occurs very rarely in postpartum depression (in 1% of cases).

Psychotic depression usually increases when symptoms of depression appear at a very severe level, especially in cases where there is a risk of suicide, delusion or other fears and cognitive impairment.

Read more:

1. Depression: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

2. Serotonin Deficiency -Depression, Irritability and Obsession

3. Melancholic Depression: Symptoms and Causes

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that prevents a person from thinking clearly, causing him to see or hear things that are not there, or to believe things that are not true.

People with schizophrenia generally have functional problems in society, in the workplace, at school, and in their relationships with their spouses.

Schizophrenia may cause fear and introversion in people with it. Schizophrenia is a chronic disease that accompanies the sufferer throughout his life. It cannot be cured, but it can be controlled by appropriate drug treatment.

Sometimes it may happen that a person with a mental disorder loses connection with reality.

The characteristic behavior of people with schizophrenia can be very strange, sometimes even frightening.

The sudden change that occurs in the patient's personality, or in his behavior, which causes him to lose any connection with reality, is called the "psychotic stage".

Read more:

1. Schizophrenia: Types, Symptoms, and Causes

2. Schizophrenia vs. Schizoaffective Disorder

Psychotic Depression vs. Schizophrenia: Symptoms

Among the most prominent differences that can be mentioned about the difference between psychotic depression and schizophrenia are the symptoms of both conditions. Let's see the symptoms of both conditions.

Symptoms of Psychotic Depression

Here are some symptoms of psychotic depression:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Physical immobility
  • Constipation
  • Intellectual impairment
  • Hypochondria
  • Hallucinations and delusions

Read here: Clinical Depression: Symptoms and Causes

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Some of the symptoms of schizophrenia are as follows:

  • Hallucinations and delusions.
  • Trouble concentrating and speech.
  • Extremely disorganized or abnormal motor behavior.
  • Confused thoughts and disorganized speech.
  • Lack of emotion and isolation from society.
  • Lack of motivation and lack of interest in daily activities.

Read Also: Schizophrenia - Symptoms, Causes and Complications

Psychotic Depression vs. Schizophrenia: Differential diagnosis

Psychotic depression and schizophrenia are similar in a person who has hallucinations and delusions.

Through the differential diagnosis, i,e,, the diagnosis that presents some of the different points between the two disorders, it is possible to know the difference between psychotic depression and schizophrenia and to correctly diagnose the patient.

The differential diagnosis depends primarily on the time and development of symptoms and the overlap of psychotic and depressive symptoms.

Here are some of the points of this diagnosis:

Symptoms of psychosis begin to appear in patients with psychotic depression after they have had a depressive episode.

The likelihood of a person developing psychotic depression is related to the severity of the illness, as it accompanies severe depression.

Symptoms of depression begin to appear on schizophrenic patients after they realize their illness because they feel helpless and need someone else to take care of them.

The state of psychosis in schizophrenics is not related to the person's mood and usually includes strange thoughts such as the presence of an external force controlling the thoughts.

In people with psychotic depression, psychosis is related to a person's mood and usually expresses negative thoughts such as the delusion that a loved one is going to die.

Read here: How to Get an Accurate Diagnosis of Clinical Depression

Psychotic Depression vs. Schizophrenia: Treatment

One of the differences between psychotic depression and schizophrenia is the difference in the treatment of each of them, so it is very important that the disease is diagnosed correctly by a specialist doctor, and the doctor is likely to suggest the following treatments:

Treatment of Psychotic Depression

Psychotic depression is usually treated while the patient is in the hospital to monitor the condition. Treatment is effective in most cases and the person can recover after a few months. Treatment includes the following:

  • Use of a combination of medications, including antidepressants and antipsychotics.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy: ECT is a safe and highly effective treatment for people with psychotic depression when drug therapy fails.
Read here: Seasonal Depression: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Treatment of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia requires lifelong treatment even if symptoms disappear, and the goal of treatment is to control symptoms with the lowest possible dose of medication.

Treatment of schizophrenia includes the following:

Antipsychotics: There are two groups of antipsychotics; first-generation,” “typical,” or “conventional” antipsychotics, and second-generation” or “atypical” antipsychotics.

Electroconvulsive therapy: ECT is a medical procedure most commonly used to treat certain mental illnesses.

Rehabilitation: It focuses on developing social skills and professional training to help people with schizophrenia integrate, function in society, and lead an independent life, as much as possible.

Individual therapy: This aims to help the patient better understand the disease he suffers from, and help him to face the problem and develop ways to solve it.

Family therapy: It aims to help the patient's family deal better with a loved one who has schizophrenia, and to give them ways to help him in the best and most effective way.

Group therapy: It is a form of psychological treatment where a group of patients meet to work on their issues and provide mutual support on a consistent basis.

Read Also: Schizophrenia: Diagnosis and Treatment

Can Psychotic Depression Lead to Schizophrenia?

You may be wondering if psychotic depression can progress to schizophrenia. Although severe cases of depression may be accompanied by some symptoms of schizophrenia such as psychosis. 

There are no studies that confirm whether psychotic depression can turn into schizophrenia, but schizophrenia may accompany a person with depression, as follows:

Antipsychotic medications block dopamine receptors, which have a similar effect on the brain as depression.

The mushroom is one of the best dietary sources of the amino acid ergothioneine. Studies have shown that mushroom edibles help prevent several mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder.

Depression is similar to some of the symptoms of schizophrenia, such as poor motivation and social isolation, which makes it more difficult to diagnose in patients with schizophrenia.

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