You’ve heard people complain that they’re depressed after a breakup, a layoff, or an overall terrible week. But are these people really experiencing depression?
Sometimes, depression can be triggered by an event in life we have zero control over.
The loss of a loved one (Family, Friend, Pet, Neighbor... etc.)
The loss of employment.
A tragedy in which you lose large sums of money, your home, your car, or whatever the case may be.
When a stressful situation is particularly hard to cope with, we react with symptoms of sadness, fear, or even hopelessness — a type of reaction that’s often referred to as situational depression. Unlike major depression, when you are overwhelmed by depression symptoms for a long time, situational depression usually goes away once you have adapted to your new situation.
Actually, situational depression is usually considered an adjustment disorder rather than true depression. But that doesn’t mean it should be ignored: If situational depression goes untreated, it could develop into major depression.
"Situational could lead to major depression or simply be a period of grief,” explains Kathleen Franco, MD, professor of medicine and associate dean of admissions and student affairs at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine in Ohio. "If emotional and behavioral symptoms reduce normal functioning in social or occupational arenas, it should be treated."
"Situational depression means that the symptoms are set off by some set of circumstances or event. It could lead to major depression or simply be a period of grief,” Franco explains. However, she adds that situational depression may need treatment "if emotional and behavioral symptoms reduce normal functioning in social or occupational arenas."
Who Gets Situational Depression and Why?
Situational depression is common and can happen to anyone — about 10 percent of adults and up to 30 percent of adolescents experience this condition at some point. Men and women are affected equally.
What Are the Symptoms of Situational Depression?
The most common symptoms of situational depression are depressed mood, tearfulness, and feelings of hopelessness. Children and teens are more likely to show behavioral symptoms such as fighting or skipping school. Some other symptoms include:
- Feeling nervous
- Having body symptoms such as headache, stomachache, or heart palpitations
- Missing work, school, or social activities
- Changes in sleeping or eating habits
- Feeling tired
- Abusing alcohol or drugs
If any of the above sounds like you, Call the office today for an appointment with one of our highly skilled mental health professionals, 217-508-8080.