What is Situational Depression?

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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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Situational depression is also commonly called adjustment disorder. It is a kind of depression that’s often caused by experiences in a person’s life. For example, a person may develop situational depression after the death of a family member or learning they have a serious illness. The severity of situational depression will generally vary depending on the event that brought it on, and recovery times can vary as well. Sometimes professional treatment can be helpful for situational depression, but it isn’t necessarily required in every case, and people will often adjust on their own eventually.

The things that can lead to situational depression are quite varied, and sometimes symptoms can be somewhat prolonged, especially when the depression is caused by a long-term situation. For example, if the depression is caused by some kind of career problem, the feelings may linger until the individual finds a way to overcome his difficulties. In cases that are caused by a singular event, the symptoms may go away faster, although that can vary depending on the ongoing consequences of the event and the person’s ability to handle challenge.


When it comes to symptoms, situational depression is relatively similar to other kinds of depression. People may find themselves crying a lot, and they may lose their appetite. Sometimes individuals may find it impossible to enjoy things that were formerly pleasurable, and they might temporarily give up on important parts of their lives. Right after the event which causes a bout of situational depression, the symptoms will generally be at their most severe and then gradually start to improve.

People will usually experience situational depression many times in their lives. Some individuals may cope with it better than others, and over time, people may learn personal strategies for dealing with this kind of depression. In some cases, situational depression can become so severe and prolonged that the patient seeks out professional treatment. Even in cases where the depression isn’t especially severe, some experts recommend seeking treatment as a way to overcome the problems faster.

In most cases, this type of depression is treated using psychotherapy or counseling. The therapist will generally help the patient to understand the source of his problem and teach various coping strategies for dealing with emotional pain. Depending on the cause of the particular case, group therapy approaches may be included as part of an overall recovery plan. Doctors may also temporarily ask the patient to use antidepressants, but ideally, this will be a short-term part of the treatment.


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Post 3

@burcidi-- Depression and anxiety can happen together, so that's not uncommon. I also experience panic attacks and anxiety attacks when I have situational depression.

Make sure to tell your doctor about this because some medications are effective against both anxiety and depression and some only for depression. If you're going to receive drug treatment, you'll need something that works for you.

Post 2

Are anxiety and panic attacks common during situational depression? My doctor said that I have situational depression but anxiety seems to be the bigger problem for me.

Post 1

I've had situational depression twice in my life. The first time was when my parents divorced. The second time was when I hated my job after finishing college.

One would think that as one gets older, it would be easier to deal with depression but it's not. I was in middle school when my parents divorced and it took me several years get out of depression and be happy again.

When I became depressed because of my job about ten years later, things weren't any easier. Depression is always tough. The support of my family and friends was what helped me get through.

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