Situational depression is a short-term form of depression that can occur in the aftermath of various traumatic changes in your normal life, including divorce, retirement, loss of a job and the death of a relative or close friend. Doctors sometimes refer to the condition as adjustment disorder. A person with situational depression may have symptoms that are more or less identical to someone with clinical depression; however, there are certain key differences between the effects and treatment of these two disorders.
As we go through life, we all have experiences that stretch the limits of our normal ability to cope and continue our daily routines. In addition to the experiences listed above, situations that can potentially overwhelm your normal coping mechanisms include surviving a hurricane or other major disaster, surviving a serious accident, experiencing a major illness, and even marriage or the birth of a child. Situational depression occurs when you haven’t yet adapted to the changes brought about by these situations and incorporated them into your overall life experiences.
Most people with situational depression develop symptoms within roughly 90 days following the event that triggers the condition. Depending on the individual, these symptoms can include listlessness, feelings of hopelessness, sleeping difficulties, sadness, recurring bouts of crying, unfocused anxiety, unfocused worry, loss of concentration, withdrawal from normal work or leisure activities and withdrawal from friends and family. In addition, some people develop suicidal thoughts.