Situational Depression Symptoms: Causes And How To Treat It?

Situational depression is a form of depression that results after some traumatic event in a person’s life. You may have come across many people who feel sad, feared and hopeless after break up in relationship, death of friend or a relative, loss of job etc.

This type of depression is more of a short term psychological condition resulting from particular stressful situation. Physicians also refer to it as adjustment disorder where a person finds difficult to cope up with the stressful event or finds difficulty in adapting to changed life circumstances.

Situational depression develops within 3 months of the traumatic event.

This form of depression is not similar to clinical major depression and it does not last long. As time passes or the person adjusts to the changes, the condition disappears on its own. In some severe cases patient may require psychotherapy and medications.

Common Causes Of Situational Depression

Situation depression is more common in young adults. However, it can happen to anyone. At least 10 to 30 percent of young people may have experienced situational depression at some point in their life. Both the genders are equally affected. Stressful life event is one of the most common causes of situational depression.

The stressor can be of any type such as;

  • Breakup in relationship
  • Divorce
  • Loss of job
  • Death of relative or a friend.
  • Change of home, moving to another school etc.
  • Suffering from serious illness.
  • Experiencing environmental disaster such as earthquake, floods, road accident, act of crime, house fire etc.

Teenagers and young adults are at higher risk of suffering from situational depression especially when they have experienced traumatic events in their childhood years.

Signs And Symptoms Of Situational Depression

Situational depression exhibits variety of symptoms some of them are mild to moderate while some are severe and appear similar to major form of clinical depression. Since every individual is different, situational depression symptom manifestation will differ from one person to another in type and severity.

Some identifiable symptoms are;

  • Frequent bouts of crying.
  • Feeling of hopelessness all the time.
  • Anxious and nervous.
  • Inability to sleep well or has disturbed sleep.
  • Finds difficulty in concentrating on one subject.
  • Always feel worried.
  • Change in behavior; like to be alone and isolated, fighting with friends and family member or driving recklessly.

Any of these symptoms or combination of symptoms will last for 3 months after the triggering event in situational depression. Sometimes it may last for few more months. However, if the symptoms persist and prolong for more than 6 months, than other possibility of clinical depression needs to be considered.

How To Treat Situational Depression?

In majority cases of situational depression the symptoms recede on their own as the person starts to adjust to changes in his life. The symptoms normally remain for 3 months after which it disappears. Treatment should be sought for from health care professional when the symptoms interfere with functioning of daily life.

The aim of treatment is to help the individual to cope with the stressful circumstances through which he is passing. Support from family, friends, and peers is helpful in bringing back life to normal. Perhaps the most helpful treatment for relieving stressful situational depression is speaking with a trusted friend.

Exercise, proper nutritious diet, sleeping for 7 to 8 hours, and taking interest and participating in leisurely activities will help the daily life more worthwhile and productive during this period.

In some severe cases besides counseling, the physician may also prescribe antidepressant medicines.