A Guide to Understanding Situational Depression

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A Guide to Understanding Situational Depression

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Events that can trigger situational depression include:

  • Loss of a loved one
  • Illness
  • Problems at school or work
  • Major life changes such as a move
  • Relationship problems

Situational Depression Symptoms

Situational depression can manifest differently from one person to the next. What all sufferers have in common are stressful life events. The stress and the depression it brings on can cause a huge disruption in the day to day life of the sufferer. Those suffering from situational depression can find themselves experiencing feelings of hopelessness and sadness. They may also find it hard to enjoy the activities they usually like. They could find themselves crying more often and worrying more often. A general sense of despair along with difficulty sleeping, trouble focusing, and a disinterest in food are common. So are feeling overwhelmed and incapability of carrying out one’s daily activities. Sufferers tend to avoid social interactions as much as possible and may emotionally crash if forced to engage. Individuals may also neglect to pay bills and take care of other important life duties, while they may also engage in thoughts of suicide and possibly even attempt it.

What Causes Situational Depression?

Situational depression can be caused by both negative and positive stressful events. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Marital problems
  • Relationship problem
  • Changes in one’s situation
  • Financial problems
  • The loss of a loved one
  • Social issues at work or at school
  • Physical assault
  • Natural disaster
  • Combat
  • Medical problems
  • Living in a dangerous community

Some people are at higher risk of situational depression. This includes those that have had previous life experiences that may have an effect on current situations. These may be people who have had a considerably stressful childhood, those with existing mental health problems, and those who have had multiple previous difficult life circumstances. There are some biological factors that may cause an increase in one’s risk for depression. If you or your loved one has any of the following, you may be at increased risk for depression:

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Genetic changes
  • Brain structure abnormalities
  • Brain chemistry abnormalities

Those with family members who have experienced depression are more likely to experience depression as well.

Diagnosis of Situational Depression

After a stressful experience or series of events, one may start seeing the appearance of the symptoms of situational depression. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) indicates that persons may be diagnosed with situational depression if they exhibit any of the below:

  • Symptoms affecting behavior and emotions within three months of a stressful event
  • Feeling higher stress levels after a stressful life event
  • Stress puts a heavy burden on interpersonal relationships
  • Symptoms of depression that are not caused by any other type of mental health disorders and are not a part of traditional grieving procedures

Treatment for Situational Depression

If you or a loved one is suffering through depression, consult with a doctor about the symptoms experienced. Proper treatment can help individuals to cope with their stressful situations in a better way, so they can get back to life. Treatment options include medications such as:

  • Selective serotonin uptake inhibitors such as Celexa or Zoloft
  • Dopamine reuptake blockers such as Bupropion

Alternately, depression can be treated with psychotherapy and this is in fact the preferred treatment for situational depression. The treatment supports the patient over the longterm by providing them with coping mechanisms that help them when they are in a stressful situation. These coping mechanisms enable them to become more resilient, so they can avoid falling into the pit of situational depression in the future once therapy is done. The type of therapy most commonly used to combat this type of depression is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).

 

Once the treatment begins it will start right away to address the patient’s depression and help them to make the necessary lifestyle changes that will allow them to cope better. Some lifestyle changes one can expect to engage in with CBT include:

  • Exercising more regularly
  • Establishing a sleep routine
  • Engaging in more restful and relaxing activities
  • Consuming a balanced, healthy diet
  • Strengthening their social support system

What Is The Difference Between Clinical And Situational Depression?

Situational depression is typically preceded by a stressful event. This situation can overwhelm the individual who may, in turn, struggle to cope. The symptoms tend to go away or get more manageable over time once the proper coping mechanisms are employed. In clinical depression, there is usually no cause that can be identified, but it is sometimes triggered by an overwhelming situation or experience. There are times when unmanaged situational depression can lead to clinical depression.

Importance of Suicide Prevention

If you or a loved one is at risk of suicide or thinking about suicide, you can get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. If you think you or your loved one is at immediate risk of hurting themselves or another person, please take action using one or more of the steps below:

  • Call your local emergency number
  • If you are with them, stay with them until the help arrives
  • Remove anything they can use to cause harm including medication, knives, or guns
  • Listen without being judgmental
  • Don’t yell, threaten or argue

Suicidal depression left untreated can lead to feelings or thoughts of suicide, don’t let it get that far. Seek out help for yourself or your loved one. Get in touch with Estadt today, so we can provide you with the services that are the right fit to deal with your clinical or situational depression. We can provide you with the therapy that gets you back on your feet and ready to tackle and excel at your day to day life.


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