Many people who experience depression feel that it begins without a specific event to trigger its onset, but others can pinpoint a specific moment that led to their feelings of sadness, stress, hopelessness, and a sense of being overwhelmed or unable to face the day. In many cases, this may be situational depression.
Situational depression is considered an “adjustment disorder with depressed mood.” Since it is a different condition than clinical depression or other depressive disorders, it can be helpful to know how the symptoms you may experience differ from those commonly associated with depression and what steps you should take to get to feeling like yourself again.
Understanding Adjustment Disorders and Depression
An adjustment disorder is an emotional disturbance that can occur after a significant change in a person’s life, such as the loss of a job, a financial change, relocation, divorce, or the death of a loved one. Not every person at every event will experience adjustment disorder, but when they do, it can take different forms, and one of them may be adjustment disorder with a depressed mood.
The way you experience this can feel similar to depression in terms of its symptoms, but there are a few key differences. First, situational depression is often not as long lasting. After the initial onset, when the situation changes or after you have better adjusted to a new reality, situational depression will often go away on its own within a six month period. If your symptoms do not ease, your psychiatrist or therapist may consider the diagnosis of clinical depression instead.
The symptoms of situational depression are often, but not always, less extreme than those of clinical depression as well. You may feel:
- Sad or Hopeless
- Excessively Tired or Restless
- Emotionally Volatile
You may also withdraw from activities or relationships that you used to enjoy. Although you may have difficulty sleeping were experienced a change in appetite, situational depression does not generally have a lot of the physical pain that is associated with clinical depression.
While these symptoms of situational depression will likely resolve on their own after a few months, they can still be challenging to live with in the interim and cause severe impact on your day to day life. Depression medication may be an effective way to manage symptoms and usually works extremely well for short term treatment of symptoms. Psychotherapy is another effective solution since talking about an event and concerns related to new situations has proven effective for many patients in hastening the end of situational depression.
For patients in Dallas and Fort Worth who suspect that they may be experiencing an adjustment disorder, Aware Behavioral Health can help. Dr. Sehdev, a Dallas psychiatrist, can provide insight into what you were experiencing and determine if medication will be helpful to reduce your symptoms. We can also discuss and implement other methods that will reduce depression and leave you feeling more peaceful after challenging situations or changes. Learn more about treatment solutions for adjustment disorder and depression by sending a message to Aware Behavioral Health.