Frequently Asked Questions About Agitated Depression

As a mining engineer for more than two decades, I have worked with all kinds of miners on a broader array of mining sites to know what to expect as soon as I saw them. I could tell based on observation alone who’s new or who’s experienced at their jobs. More importantly, who among them would not be strolling around the site and could work even without supervision?

Now, there was a particular mining site that I had the most difficulty with. It was not because of awful facilities or lazy miners, no. It was because there were three employees there who showed signs of agitation.

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How Agitated People Behave

Let’s called the first person as Ronnie. He was a 23-year-old guy who got looped into the business by his friends. They lived in the nearby suburban area where most of the men worked in the mining site. From an objective view, I liked Ronnie’s work. He was diligent; he picked up on things quickly. However, he was also terribly scared of caves and explosives – two common things you would deal with when you’re a miner. We used explosives as little as possible, but going to a human-made cave was inevitable, and Ronnie would always look clammy and shaky whenever he would have to go in there.

The second person was Joe. He came from the same suburban area where Ronnie lived. The problem with him was that his nervousness showed too much excitement or stubbornness. For instance, a supervisor showed how to identify a rock from a mineral, and he was already sorting through his pile. I heard complaints from his coworkers about that, considering correcting his errors did the job twice as hard for everyone.

The last one was Benjamin. Unlike Joe and Ronnie, he was a supervisor from another state. Going to a different state meant higher pay, and he needed that extra money because he had baby #2 on the way. However, since Benjamin could not go home often and missed his family terribly, he was often snappy towards the miners. That’s especially true if they could not understand instruction in one go. 

Why People Become Agitated

When I found out about the problematic employees, I asked my direct superior if we could bring a psychologist to the mining site. I did not want to believe that they were a bunch of crazy or mean people. After all, working in a mining site could take a toll on your mental health after a while. Its effect could even worsen if you had to live in the quarters, away from your family, for an extended period. Perhaps only Ronnie, Joe, and Benjamin were the most obvious cases, but there might be more people who needed mental help there.

Thankfully, my boss was open-minded about such things. A week after that, I announced that a psychologist would arrive, and they could talk to him about their worries, fears, problems – everything. I saw some people hesitate to do so, but it was probably because they had never opened up to anyone so much before. 

As per the client-psychologist confidentiality rule, I was not supposed to ask either the miner or the psychologist what they talked about during the session. Despite that, as I compared the expression on the people’s faces when they went in and out of the office where they met the mental health professional, many of them seemed like they got ten years younger afterward. The psychologist informed later that a few of them – including the three mentioned above – decided to continue their consultation and possibly try therapy. When I asked about their behaviors, he said that the miners’ agitation stemmed from occupational stress, leading to depression and anxiety. 

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What are the signs and symptoms of agitation? 

When it comes to agitation, these are the signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • You feel uneasy and nervous.
  • You move uncontrollably.
  • You become cranky and a little impatient.
  • You can be too excited or too stubborn to do anything.

What does agitation feel like? 

When you experience agitation, it feels like tension builds up in your body. It takes very little to no provocation for that tension to explode into full-on anger, excitement, or impatience, given that this feeling is fueled by stress. Nevertheless, agitation is not an odd emotion, so it’s okay to feel this way sometimes.

Why do I get so agitated? 

Stress is one of the primary causes of agitation. When work, school, or a relationship becomes too much for you, you tend to feel too agitated to realize what needs to be done in life. Things do not let up when you have anxiety, addiction, bipolar disorder, or depression on top of that. In truth, that may worsen your agitation, to the extent that you may snap at people for practically no reason at all. 

Is agitation a sign of anxiety? 

Yes, agitation is a sign of anxiety. Whenever you feel anxious, your inner tension causes you to experience uneasiness or be on edge – as if you are a ticking bomb. A slight nudge, comment, gesture, or even a smile can trigger you to go over the edge.

What is the best medication for agitation? 

The reality is that there is no specific medication that can cure or treat agitation, considering it is technically a behavioral symptom – not a mental disorder. However, some psychiatrists may prescribe antipsychotic drugs like Abilify, Geodon, Haldol, and Zyprexa. In case the patient does not want to take medication, they may try the following:

  • Know the trigger factors.
  • Stay in a calm space.
  • Rest well.
  • Try meditation.

How do I overcome agitation? 

Considering your agitation is a symptom of psychosis, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or other mental illnesses, you most likely need to see a psychiatrist determine if you can take medication or get therapy. In case it is due to hormonal imbalance, it may be ideal to try hormonal replacement therapy to get rid of your agitation. Now, suppose none of the given options is on the table. In that case, you may take non-medical approaches, such as doing deep-breathing exercises, yoga, and various calming techniques to reduce stress primarily. 

How do I know I’m bipolar? 

Bipolar disorder is not the most straightforward mental illness to diagnose, given that the varying signs of mania and depression can confuse even the best mental health professionals out there. However, if you genuinely want to know if you are bipolar, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I sometimes feel too high or too low?
  • Can I sometimes forgo sleeping for days? Are there days when I feel too exhausted to leave the bed?
  • Do I make decisions that feel both exciting but reckless? 
  • When I am working, do I sometimes show overconfidence or lack of concentration?
  • Do I feel like the king (or queen) of the world one day and then wish to end it another day?

If the answer to all these questions is ‘yes,’ then it is possible that you have bipolar disorder. 

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Why do I feel like I’m crawling out of my skin? 

The sensation of crawling out of your skin is a physical symptom of anxiety. It is often accompanied by a tingling feeling – as if something is moving all over your body. Unfortunately, scientists cannot provide a medical explanation for this symptom at the time of writing. 

What is the difference between irritability and agitation? 

Irritability is a common form of anger that a person experiences when they witness or feel something untoward. Some may express it by scrunching up their nose, leaving, or maintaining a poker face, given that an irritated individual is not angry enough to lash out.

As for agitation, the opposite happens. When an agitated person sees or experiences something that their brain perceives as untoward, they may start wringing their hands, pacing the room, or shaking. Worse, they may be unable to keep themselves from acting irritable or yelling at someone as tension continues to build up in their system. Such uncontrollable behaviors may persist until the individual stops feeling agitated. 

What drugs calm you down? 

Psychiatrists typically prescribe antidepressants to patients who cannot calm down on their own. There are new forms of antidepressants (e.g., SSRIs) that are supposed to have fewer side effects than others. In case you are looking for anti-anxiety medication, you may seek FDA-approved benzodiazepines like Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin.

How do you get rid of an unsettled feeling? 

Feeling unsettled is not good. You should do the following to get rid of it:

  • Figure out why you feel this way. The answer is in your head more often than not, but you may be afraid to confront the truth.
  • Release all your pent-up emotions through physical activities. If you cannot go to the gym, run around the neighborhood. If you cannot ride a bike, then go on a hike. Even if you do not use your words, the exercises can boost your mental health.
  • Create a new routine for yourself. Sometimes, you feel unsettled because you feel stuck. That may change when you have a different schedule to follow.
  • Pray to God, Allah, or any of the gods or goddesses that you consider as heavenly beings. You need not follow any religion to do that, but sometimes it feels good to believe that higher beings are looking over you.
  • Seek mental help if the tips above fail to get rid of your unsettled feelings. In that case, you may have an undiagnosed disorder and require medication or therapy to get better.

What is bad anxiety? 

Bad anxiety is another term for general anxiety disorder (GAD). Although it is technically the mildest form of anxiety, it remains characterized by recurring feelings of intense fear. The reason behind the sensation may or may not always be valid, but it can cripple an individual to the extent that they refuse to leave their house or bedroom.

What can I take for irritability? 

Irritability is a behavioral symptom that you may experience when you are agitated or before it turns into anger. It is also a familiar feeling for people who deal with hormonal imbalances, stress, depression, bipolar disorder, and other issues. Thus, you need to pinpoint which of them causes your irritability before taking any drug.

For instance, if you feel irritated due to depression, you may take antidepressants. In case it is because of hormonal imbalance, you can try hormonal replacement therapy.

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What are the three most commonly prescribed drugs for dementia? 

Given that dementia have similar symptoms as Alzheimer’s disease, the patients who suffer from either tend to get practically the same drugs to slow down – not cure – memory loss. These drugs include:

  • Donepezil
  • Memantine
  • Rivastigmine

Does anxiety medication help anger?

Technically speaking, anti-depression – not anti-anxiety – medication is used to treat anger issues. Some psychiatrists may prescribe Zoloft, Prozac, or Celexa to their patients since they are meant to provide a sense of calmness to the users. However, since patients suffering from anxiety also take antidepressants, anxiety medication helps anger via transitive relation.

Final Thoughts

The mining company owner learned about the psychological consultations that I requested for the miners I worked with. I thought he would tell me to shut down that program or, worse, fire me when he asked me to visit his office, but I was pleasantly surprised when he said that it was an excellent idea. After that conversation, more psychologists got dispatched to other mining sites, and the workers’ morale and mood improved overall in no time.

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