Psychotic depression is a variant of major depression that occurs when severe depression includes some form of psychosis such as hallucinations or delusions. Psychosis is not a permanent experience; it can be treated. It is important to talk with a healthcare professional right away if psychosis is suspected or occurring.

Psychosis may include a number of experiences, including:

  • trouble thinking clearly;
  • difficulty understanding what is real or not;
  • suspiciousness and paranoia;
  • withdrawal and isolation;
  • unusual ideas or feelings;
  • delusions and hallucinations, including seeing, hearing, smelling things that are not there.

Psychosis does not have one specific cause. An individual may experience psychosis as a symptom of a mental health condition, or result from substance use, medication side effect, or sleep deprivation.