Situational Depression: What are the differences from Clinical Depression?

Everyone feels sad from time to time and this is a natural human emotion. But depression is a serious condition that can affect every aspect of a person’s life.

Situational depression often goes away over time , and talking about the problem can facilitate the recovery process. If recovery does not occur, the most serious condition of clinical depression can develop. This is more difficult to resolve, and the person with clinical depression should seek psychological / medical help.

Content of this article:

1.   What is situational depression?

2.    What is clinical depression?

3.    Diagnosis of clinical depression

4.    Situational depression treatment options

5.    Clinical depression treatment options

What is situational depression?

The situational depression or disorder with depressed mood setting is a short-term depression so that occurs as a result of a traumatic event or change in a person ‘s life.

Triggers can include divorce, the loss of a job, the death of a close friend, a serious accident, and other major life changes, such as retirement.

Situational depression results from a person’s struggle to come to terms with the changes that have occurred. Once the person is able to deal with the new situation, recovery is possible.

For example, after the death of a parent, it may take a while before a person can accept that their loved one is gone. Until this moment, she may be unable to move on with her life.

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Symptoms of situational depression can include:

  • Indifference
  • Feelings of hopelessness and sadness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Frequent crying episodes
  • Lack of focus, anxiety and worry
  • Loss of concentration
  • Withdrawal from normal activities, as well as socializing with family and friends
  • Suicidal thoughts

Most people who experience situational depression begin to experience symptoms within approximately 90 days of the triggering event.

What is clinical depression?

Clinical depression is more severe than situational depression . It is also known as major depression or major depressive disorder . It is severe enough to interfere with daily life.

It is classified as a mood disorder and usually involves chemical imbalances in the brain.

Clinical depression can have genetic origins or can develop as a response to painful or stressful experiences or events, such as a major loss. These important life events can trigger negative emotions such as anger, disappointment or frustration.

Depression can change the way a person thinks and how the body works .

Alcohol and drug abuse are also linked to clinical depression.

Diagnosis of clinical depression

To be formally diagnosed with clinical depression, a person must meet the symptom criteria described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association .

To be diagnosed with clinical depression, a person must show five or more symptoms from a specific list of criteria, over a period of 2 weeks for most of the day, almost every day.

The symptoms must be severe enough to substantially reduce the person’s ability to perform their regular duties and routines.

At least one of the symptoms experienced must be a depressed mood or a loss of interest or loss of pleasure.

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Other signs and symptoms of clinical depression include:

  • Depressed mood or constant irritability
  • Significant reduction in interest or lack of pleasure in activities
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain
  • A decrease or increase in appetite
  • Insomnia or an increased desire to sleep
  • Restlessness or slow behavior
  • Tiredness or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Problems making decisions or staying focused
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide or attempted suicide

Some people with clinical depression experience delusions , hallucinations and other psychotic disorders. These do not usually occur in people with situational depression .

Situational depression treatment options

Situational depression is a natural response to a traumatic event . It usually ceases to be a problem once the stressful situation or event has passed, if the situation improves, or when the person learns to deal with the situation better.

In most cases, situational depression is only short-term .

Mild cases of situational depression often go away on their own , but there are some strategies that a person can adopt to reduce the effects and help them feel better.

Some lifestyle changes include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Maintain regular sleep habits
  • Talking to loved ones
  • Join a formal support group
  • Having a hobby or leisure activity

People who find it difficult to recover from a traumatic experience may need to talk to a trained psychotherapist. This specialist can help them get back on track.

Family therapy can also be recommended. If necessary, the doctor may prescribe medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs.

Also read:  Cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression vs. antidepressants: What should be the 1st option?

Clinical depression treatment options

Clinical depression can last for a long time , and may require a more long-term and in-depth treatment plan. Typically, a combination of psychotherapy or psychological counseling and medications are used to treat clinical depression .

Also read:  What is psychotherapy and how it works

Who suffers from depression?

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness , 16 million  Americans had at least one major depressive episode in 2015. Depression can occur regardless of race, sex or economic status, but women are likely  70% m aior than men to experiment.

With a healthy lifestyle and the right treatment plan, significant improvements in the lives of those suffering from clinical depression and situational depression are possible


by Abdullah Sam
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