Mental Health Awareness Project


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Situational Depression: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Situational Depression: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

What is situational depression?

The stress-related type of depression known as situational depression lasts for only a short period. The condition can occur after you have experienced a traumatic event or series of events. A type of adjustment disorder, situational depression occurs after experiencing a traumatic event. You may find it difficult to return to your normal life after a traumatic event. Reactive depression is another name for this.

Situational depression can be caused by:

  • Work or school problems
  • Illness
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Moving
  • Relationship problems

Read: What is a Toxic Relationship?

Symptoms of situational depression

The symptoms of situational depression vary depending on the individual. This type of depression can amplify the impact of stressful events in one’s life. The stress may severely disrupt your daily routine.

Situational depression symptoms include:

  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Inability to enjoy normal activities
  • Regular crying
  • Anxiety or stress all the time
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Disinterest in food
  • Focus issues
  • Difficulty performing daily tasks
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Reluctant to interact with others
  • Neglecting important matters such as paying your bills and attending work
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Read: Loneliness and Depression

Causes of situational depression

A stressful event, whether positive or negative, can trigger it. Some stressful events are:

  • Problems in relationships, such as fighting or divorce
  • Changing circumstances such as retiring, going away to school, or bringing a child into the world
  • Financial difficulties, such as a job loss or money problems
  • An unexpected death
  • Academic or work-related social problems
  • Life-threatening situations, such as physical assault or combat
  • Medical illness
  • Residing in a dangerous area

Stress can be influenced by past experiences. Reactive depression is more likely if you have:

  • Grown-up under a lot of stress
  • Have mental health issues
  • Dealt with many adversities simultaneously

You might also be more susceptible to depression due to biological factors. These factors include:

  • Abnormal brain chemistry and structure
  • Abnormal hormone levels
  • Genetic changes

A person in your family who has also experienced depression is also more likely to develop it.

Read: COVID-19 and Depression

Diagnosing situational depression

A person with situational depression will experience symptoms after experiencing a stressful event. You may be suffering from reactive depression if you are experiencing:

  • Within three months after a traumatic event, you experience emotional or behavioral symptoms
  • A stressful life event causes you to feel more stressed than usual
  • It can affect your relationships, work or academic pursuits severely
  • After a loved one has died, you are experiencing symptoms of depression that are not the result of another mental health disorder

Read: Childhood Depression

Treatment for situational depression

If you find that you cannot handle your daily responsibilities and activities because of your symptoms, then you need to see a doctor. You can benefit from treatment by being able to handle stress better.

Situational depression medication may include:

  • Selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as sertraline (Zoloft) and citalopram (Celexa)
  • Bupropion and other dopamine reuptake blockers

The most preferred treatment for situational depression is supportive psychotherapy due to its ability to enhance coping mechanisms and resilience. It helps to prepare you for future challenges and prevents future episodes of depression caused by reactive factors. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the therapies that may be helpful.

You can also adapt your lifestyle to help you cope with depression, once your treatment has helped you address your depression. Here are some suggestions for dealing with situational depression:

  • Start exercising
  • Get into a good sleeping routine
  • Rest and relax more
  • Improve your diet
  • Develop a strong social network

Related: How to Help Someone with Depression

Suicide prevention

If you think someone may hurt themselves or another person immediately, call 911 immediately.

  • You can also dial your local 911 number
  • Wait for help to arrive until it arrives
  • Things that may cause harm should be removed, such as guns, knives, medications etc
  • Listen without judging, arguing, threatening or yelling

Seek help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline if you think someone is considering suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 800-273-8255.

Contact: Mental Help Resources

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  1. Some truly wonderful blog posts on this website, thank you for contribution. “An alcoholic is someone you don’t like who drinks as much as you do.” by Dylan Thomas.

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