Diagnosis, Clinical Features, and Therapeutic Implications of Agitated Depression

Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2020 Mar;43(1):47-57. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2019.10.011. Epub 2019 Dec 2.


Agitated "unipolar" depression is a clinical entity characterized by excitement together with depressed mood during the same episode. The clinical picture of agitated "unipolar" depression is characterized by a depressed and anxious mood with inner, psychic agitation, whereas motor agitation may or may not be present. Some investigators have conceptualized this disorder as a mixed affective state, laying on the bipolar disorder spectrum, but controversies still persist. The diagnosis of agitated "unipolar" depression has important prognostic and therapeutic implications, with many clinicians reporting difficulties to adequately diagnose and treat it.

Keywords: Agitated “unipolar” depression; Mixed states; Psychomotor agitation; Suicide; Treatments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychomotor Agitation / complications