04 May What is Situational Depression?
There are many different types of depression. Situational depression is an adjustment disorder that is brought about by stressful events. In other words, situational depression is a response to traumatic situations that may make it difficult to go about your everyday life.
How Is Situational Depression Different Than Sadness or Stress?
It’s natural to feel stressed or sad when you’re experiencing problems or major changes in your life, such as:
• Trouble at work or loss of a job
• Problems at school
• Loss of a loved one
• Relationships issues
• Illness or surgery
• Marital problems or divorce
• Natural disasters
• Events that threatened your life
• Money problems
• Being in an accident
• Being the victim of a crime
• Having a baby
However, sometimes, you can’t regulate your stress and emotional responses. The negative, anxious or depressed feelings crop up and disrupt your life. You may have been able to handle stress in a healthy way all your life. But all of a sudden, something happens that seems to throw you over the edge.
A major life change may bring about intense emotions in anyone. But if your feelings are so intense that they upset your life and don’t diminish within a few days or week, you might be dealing with situational depression.
According to the diagnostic criteria, someone who experiences more stress than usual after a traumatic, significant or upsetting life event may have situational depression. This is especially true if your behavioral and emotional symptoms appear within three months of the event. If your symptoms of depression aren’t caused by another psychological disorder and are interfering with your life, you could have this adjustment disorder.
Situational Depression Symptoms
Some of the symptoms of situational depression include:
• Extreme sadness
• Feeling tearful throughout the day or in public
• Constant worry or anxiety
• Trouble sleeping
• Loss of appetite and disinterest in eating
• Difficulty concentrating
• Trouble going about your daily routine
• Overwhelming feelings
• Avoiding social interaction
• Neglecting to take care of personal matters, such as hygiene or paying bills
• Increased dependence on drugs or alcohol
• Suicidal thoughts or actions
Situational depression is more likely to develop during the times of your life when you’re undergoing significant changes, such as adolescence, early adulthood and retirement age. Symptoms in children are often behavioral. Kids with situational depression might act out or get in fights with their friends. Emotional symptoms, such as sadness and anxiety, are common in adults with this adjustment disorder.
Situational depression can occur after any significant life event. It can happen to anyone, regardless of race or gender. Just because you’ve managed to get through other difficult times, it doesn’t mean that you’re immune to situational depression.
Your life experiences up until now may influence the way that you handle stress. People who have experienced substantial stress during childhood may be at a greater risk of developing situational depression. If you’re managing other psychological disorders or go through several major events at once, you may also increase your chances of developing situational depression.
Genetics, hormonal abnormalities and changes in brain chemistry can also affect your risk of developing this adjustment disorder. You’re more likely to experience it if someone else in your family has had it.
Situational Depression vs. Clinical Depression
The symptoms of situational depression are similar to those of major or clinical depression. Clinical depression is a mood disorder that can make you feel sad, hopeless and bleak. But clinical depression often seems to hit you out of nowhere. It may not be tied to a significant change or negative event. You may not be able to pinpoint the cause.
Situational depression is an adjustment disorder with symptoms that feel just as dismal as those of depression. But it doesn’t happen out of the blue. You can usually correlate your feelings with a particular experience.
Whereas clinical depression can last years, situational depression is usually somewhat temporary. Symptoms usually arise within three months of the impactful experience and begin to diminish within six months of the onset.
Its temporary nature doesn’t make situational depression less significant or serious than clinical depression. Any type of depression can be more debilitating than some chronic physical ailments, such as arthritis.
Situational depression can also develop into clinical depression. That’s why it’s so important to get treatment and support. Also, someone with clinical depression can also get situational depression. If that happens, their depressive symptoms may worsen.
Getting Treatment for Situational or Clinical Depression
If your symptoms are making it difficult for you to take care of yourself, your family or your obligations, you should see a mental health professional. Getting treatment can help you take action that can calm your nervous system and adjust your brain chemicals. In some cases, medication can help.
Psychotherapy is often the recommended type of treatment for situational depression. Working with a therapist can help you identify detrimental thought and behavior patterns. You’ll learn coping techniques that can help you find healthy ways to deal with the stress and intense emotions.
Getting support from a therapist and learning skills to work through your distress can even lower your chances of developing this type of depression in the future. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a popular type of treatment for situational depression. It helps you bring awareness to your emotions and adjust your behaviors so that you can better manage stress, anxiety and sadness.
Lifestyle changes can also help you treat your depression. Exercising releases feel-good neurotransmitters, which can help you balance your brain chemistry and deliver natural doses of mood-enhancing chemicals.
Your therapist will often ask you about your sleep and eating patterns. Getting high-quality sleep and adequate nutrition is important when you’re dealing with depression. If you’re not sleeping and eating well, your brain and body are more susceptible to depression, and you may have more trouble dealing with intense feelings.
Medication could be an option for you if you’re dealing with situational depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are the most frequently prescribed antidepressants.
These medications block your receptors from reabsorbing serotonin, a neurotransmitter that aids communication between neurons. SSRIs usually cause fewer side effects than other types of antidepressants.
At New Method Wellness, we understand that situational depression often affects individuals who are trying to get clean. Whether an adjustment disorder is affecting your substance use or changing your lifestyle while seeking treatment is making it hard for you to deal with life, we are here to support you. We offer a variety of treatment methods, including cognitive behavioral therapy, wilderness therapy and counseling to help you get through the hard times and gain resilience to live your life to the fullest.
For more information about our Wellness Methods, visit our website or call 866.951.1824