Understanding Situational Depression

situational depression

If you’re a person who’s depressed and not living your life, then you probably know that it’s impacted your relationship, work, home life, or any other aspect of your life.

This blog post will provide the definition and effects of situational depression in order to help people better understand what it is and how it may be impacting their lives. It will also provide some suggested actions for overcoming temporary or chronic situational depression.

First, let’s talk a little bit more about situational depression.

What is situational depression?

Situational depression is a form of depression that occurs due to a specific event—or series of events—in your life. Many different types of events can do this, but generally, these events are very stressful or difficult for people to deal with. This makes sense because we are all humans and all humans react differently when we are in stressful situations or have difficult things happening in our lives.

Other names for situational depression include:

  • reactive depression
  • reactive adjustment disorder with depressed mood
  • adjustment disorder with depressed mood

Situational depression is a more common form of depression than most people think about. It’s important to be aware that situational depression exists so that people can identify it and get assistance, especially if situational depression has become chronic.

How does situational depression affect my life?

Depression is something we all have experienced in some way or another, and in fact, many of us have experienced situational depression as well.

Situational depression is usually caused by an event or combination of events, and it can last anywhere from several weeks to several months. The length of time someone experiences situational depression depends on a variety of different factors, including their ability to cope with the situation and their level of stress from other situations in life.

The types of situations that cause situational depression include:

  • Death of a loved one.
  • Loss of a job or economic crisis.
  • Relationship breakup.
  • Marital issues like fighting for a divorce or child custody.
  • End of a major life event such as retirement.
  • Medical ailment or illness.
  • Bullying or Abuse.
  • Natural Disasters like floods, and tsunamis.
  • Living in Unhealthy neighborhoods.
  • Socio-emotional issues at home, school, or work.

The risk of situational depression may be increased by a few things. These risk factors include:

  • Having a current mental health diagnosis.
  • Previous childhood trauma and stress.
  • Going through several traumas or pressures or stressors at once.

A few biological factors might also increase the risk for depression:

  • Having depression run in the family.
  • Hormonal abnormalities.
  • Abnormalities in brain structures and neurochemistry.

Symptoms of Situational Depression

Some of the symptoms of situational depression are as follows:

  • feelings of low mood or sorrow
  • Hopelessness
  • Frequent crying, Tearfulness
  • Poor concentration
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loss of enjoyment  & significant withdrawal from routine activities
  • Loneliness or social exclusion 
  • Suicidal thoughts

When a traumatic event occurs in your life, such as a breakup, job loss, or death of a loved one, the stress of the circumstance can make you feel depressed, helpless, apathetic, lost, impatient, or even hopeless. You might find yourself crying a lot, lacking energy and concentration, or unable to complete routine daily duties. Things that you can usually handle feel unattainable or overwhelming.

Gender differences in symptoms of Situational Depression

Depression symptoms are markedly different between men and women. Men commonly experience agitation, anger, or short-tempers.

Women often feel overwhelmed or hopeless, and they have thoughts such as feeling helpless to change the situation and making them believe nothing will improve.

One of the major symptoms men often face is a loss of interest in usual pleasures, as well as problems in occupational performance due to lack of energy, and loss of energy for voluntary action. In women, on the other hand, feelings paired with depression often include a cessation or a lowering sexual desire for their body’s normal functions like puberty may involve menstruation cycles alterations and vaginal dryness. This can lead to difficulty engaging in sexual intercourse when this situation occurs not only during sleep but outside without cause by any other exterior factor.

Diagnosing situational depression

Situational depression typically manifests itself 90 days after the stressful event. Situational depression often lasts only a few weeks and fades six months after the triggering event.

These symptoms must also significantly impede key areas of life functioning and/or produce notable suffering in order to qualify as an adjustment disorder with a depressed mood. Situational depression is no less “real” than major depressive disorder, despite the fact that it is typically less severe and pervasive. Situational depression poses a threat to the well-being and can make going about daily functioning challenging.

Treatment for situational depression

While there is no established empirical evidence concluding that situational depression is a clinical disorder, it has been noted to be a syndrome with distinct symptoms and responses to treatment.

Some recent findings on the prevalence of situational depression are alarming sources. In one 2007 study in Quebec City, Canada, more adults seem to be suffering from this condition (8%). Despite this prevalence, many people do not know about the diagnosis because it is not currently included in the most popular diagnostic manual for mental disorders.

The treatment of Situational Depression includes:

Counselling: Online Counseling with a mental health professional is the most effective treatment for situational depression. The purpose of treatment is to assist you in managing your stress and regaining your normality. Support groups can be very beneficial. Children or teenagers may benefit most from family therapy. You might occasionally require medicine to help you manage your anxiety or to sleep better.

Medications: Antidepressants and anxiety medications may be used to treat situational depression. whereas others can turn to drugs like dopamine reuptake inhibitors or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Depending on how severe situational depression is, a combination of the two medications has shown to be effective. However, therapy without drugs can be the solution.

Grief v/s Depression

Because people often wonder if their depressive symptoms are a normal part of the grieving process, they tend to delay receiving treatment for situational depression. You might want to take into account the fact that any emotion or behavior that interferes with your job, your relationships, or your enjoyment of once-pleasurable activities should be assessed with the aid of counseling for depression. This will help you distinguish between sadness and situational depression.

Depression can alter your thoughts and the way your body reacts to stress. Situational depression symptoms do not have to be fought on your own. If you get in touch with us, a therapist or counselor will assist you in learning simple, effective methods to manage your symptoms and lessen the likelihood that your situational depression may worsen.

Coping with situational depression

After some time has passed and you have become adjusted to your new circumstances, situational depression may go away on its own. However, there are things you can do to lessen your grief and manage your stress.

Things that can help you cope include:

  • healthy eating & exercising
  • Expressing your emotions
  • Having a self-care routine
  • Mindfulness & meditation
  • Progressive muscular relaxation
  • Deep, slow breathing
  • Strengthening your social support system
  • Sunbathing
  • Yoga
  • Playing with your pet.
  • Going for a walk.
  • Listening to soothing music
  • Spending more time in the nature
  • Journaling daily events as well as keeping a gratitude journal

Bhavesh Patel, Intern, BetterLYF Wellness

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