The Difference Between Clinical and Situational Depression: Identify the Symptoms


Situational depression, often referred to as adjustment disorder, is a short-term form of depression that follows a traumatic change to your normal life.

Changes such as divorce, loss of a job, and the death of loved one can trigger situational depression. Often times events such as natural disasters, or surviving a car accident can also lead to this form of depression.

A person with situational depression can experience symptoms similar and identical to clinical depression symptoms, but there are key differences.

Learn to tell the symptoms of situational depression in order to properly seek help and recovery.

Differences between Situational and Clinical Depression

While clinical depression can occur for a wide array of reasons, situational depression happens when a person has not adapted to changes brought about by a certain change or event in their life.

Most people develop symptoms within 90 days following the event that triggers the condition. Symptoms can include:

-Listlessness or restlessness
-Feelings of hopelessness
-Difficulties sleeping
-Recurring crying
-Lack of concentration
-Withdrawal from work or activities
-Withdrawal from loved ones
-Suicidal thoughts

While people suffering from clinical depression can also experience the symptoms mentioned above, they usually experience at least five symptoms at the same time, including other ones. Clinical depression can cause delusions, hallucinations and other forms of psychosis.

Signs of Situational Depression

If you think that you or someone around you might be experiencing from situational depression after a traumatic event, there are signs to look out for.

Some signs of this disorder can include:
-Reckless driving
-Ignoring bills or responsibilities
-Avoiding family or friends
-Performing poorly in school or work

If the symptoms and behaviors mentioned above are left untreated, a person’s life can be disrupted. Following self-care measures such as exercising, eating right, sleep and seeking support after a traumatic event can help alleviate symptoms. If symptoms last most than six months, professional treatment can help the condition improve rather than worsen.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, Elements Behavioral Health


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