Acute depression is also quantified as a major depressive disorder. This is a form of clinical depression in which the symptoms are more intense and can even become life-threatening if the patient begins to seriously consider suicide. Professional medical help is encouraged for those dealing with acute depression and treatment may include medication, lifestyle changes, counseling, hospitalization or even electro-convulsive therapy. A person suffering from acute depression may not be aware they are suffering from a treatable disease so it may become vitally important for those around them to be aware of symptoms and signs.
Lethargic behavior coincident with a definable lack of interest in what were previously pleasurable experiences and interests is a very noticeable symptom of acute depression. Someone suffering from this illness may no longer engage in recreational activities like sports or exercise. They may stop going out with friends and spending time with family. Gratification of any kind is no longer sought.
Fatigue and a loss of energy to complete even the simplest of tasks is a sign of acute depression. This symptom may be exhibited in a different way than the above example. The depressed person may have an interest in accomplishing tasks or seeking gratification, but is simply too tired to make the effort.
Sleeping problems can affect a depressed person in a number of ways. Some people may respond to depression by drawing the curtains, turning off the lights and sleeping for hours a day. Others may experience insomnia. Still others might wake up in the middle of night after a fitful few hours rest and then head back to sleep very early in the morning after being awake for two or three hours.
Failing cognitive abilities can be a sign of severe depression. The patient may have problems concentrating or focusing on the task at hand. Other signs include lapsed memories, trouble making decisions and notably diminished problem-solving capabilities.
Depressed people often express negative thoughts or pessimistic viewpoints, but this symptom is intensified and expanded in those suffering acute depression, according to “Understanding Depression.” Negativity and pessimism can be expressed as blaming yourself for problems beyond your control, jumping to negative conclusions based on a single event and distorted perception that can include paranoia.
In the most severe cases of acute depression, patients may begin experiencing hallucinations of an audible or visual nature or both. Excessive hostility towards oneself or others is another potential symptom. Suicidal thoughts expressed by someone exhibiting other symptoms of acute depression should never be casually dismissed.