Depression is complex. Some people develop depression gradually due to both biological and environmental factors. This type of depression is treatable, but because it is not due to a specific event, it often requires a broader approach to address the many potential factors that played a role in its development – as well as those that are still creating ongoing symptoms.
But not all depression develops this gradually. Sometimes, depression is a result of a specific, identifiable event. Situational depression may or may not be clinically significant, and also may or may not develop into a long term mental health challenge. But people that struggle with situational depression often feel that they would benefit from help.
Understanding Situational Depression
A person that is struggling with long term, ongoing depression may have what’s known as “clinical depression” or “major depressive disorder.” This is depression that has developed over time and has consumed a person’s mental health.
Situational depression is different. Situational depression is depression that results from a specific trauma, event, or life change. Some examples of situational depression triggers include:
- Losing a loved one.
- Assault or trauma.
- Divorces or breakups.
- Retirement or job loss.
All major life changes, such as moving to a new city or experiencing an unwanted health diagnosis, can all be triggers of situational depression.
Situational depression may be temporary. But unlike other temporary feelings of sadness that come with any loss or change, situational depression is felt deeply and severely. A person may have loss of interest in pleasurable activities, feelings of hopelessness, decreased energy or excess sleepiness, and even thoughts of suicide.
Although situational depression *can* be temporary, these emotions are so heavy that, at the time, they are severely disruptive to a person’s life. In some cases, situational depression can also lead to clinical depression.
Treatment for Situational Depression
Because situational depression can be temporary, some people do find that their emotions resolve without incident. But other people will find that it lingers, or continues to impact them in ways that last months or years. Even in cases of temporary situational depression, the emotions are so heavy and life altering that they benefit from talking to a therapist.
Treatment may include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Psychodynamic Theory
- Psychoanalytic Theory
- Gestalt Therapy
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Art Therapy, and More
As with all mental health challenges, the treatments that your therapist are based on your specific situation, personality, and symptoms. But there are many very effective ways to both get help for your current depressive symptoms, and prevent it from developing into something more.
Finding Treatment for Situational Depression
Depression, even depression that could theoretically be temporary, is still heavy and often life-impacting. It also implies trouble with coping and difficulty in moving forward. Therapy can help address current symptoms, prevent new setbacks, and stop situational depression from becoming clinical depression. Anyone that feels they are struggling with this type of depression is encouraged to seek help from an experienced therapist.