What Is Situational Depression? - Joshua York Legacy Foundation

What Is Situational Depression?

May 2, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

Situational Depression

Depression is a serious mental health condition that affects millions of people in the United States. However, not all forms of depression are the same. In this blog post, we will explore what situational depression is and how it differs from other forms of depression.

What Is Situational Depression?

Situational depression, also known as adjustment disorder, is a type of depression that occurs in response to a stressful life event. It can be triggered by the death of a loved one, divorce, job loss, or any other major life change.

Situational Depression vs. Clinical Depression

A therapy session

Situational depression is different from clinical depression in that it is less severe and does not last as long. However, it can still be a debilitating condition that interferes with your ability to function in daily life.

Clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a more severe mental health condition requiring mental health professionals’ treatment.

Another key difference between situational depression and clinical depression is that situational depression is caused by a specific or traumatic event, while clinical depression has no known cause. This means that people with clinical depression cannot simply “snap out of it” like those with situational depression.

How Common Is Situational Depression?

A hand stretching out into the sun

According to situational depression statistics, there is a 1-2% occurrence of this form of depression in the general public in the United States. According to one research, the prevalence of situational depression in a multinational (Finland, Ireland, Norway, and Spain) study was 0.2% to 1%.

What Are The Symptoms Of Situational Depression?

The symptoms of situational depression can vary from person to person, but there are some common signs to look out for. If you are experiencing any of the following emotional or behavioral symptoms, it is important to professional medical advice from a mental health professional:

  • A depressed mood
  • Losing interest in activities that you used to enjoy
  • Isolating yourself from friends and family
  • Experiencing changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Feeling irritable or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling exhausted or drained
  • Physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomach aches

What Causes Situational Depression?

As we mentioned before, situational depression is caused by a stressful event. These events may include:

  • The death of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Job loss
  • Moving to a new city
  • Having a baby
  • Starting a new job

Situational depression can also be caused by life changes, such as:

  • Retirement
  • Getting fired
  • Financial problems
  • Starting a new job

Situational depression is your body’s way of adjusting to the stressor. In most cases, the symptoms of situational depression will resolve on their own within a few months. However, if the symptoms persist for longer than six months, it is important to seek professional help.

How To Diagnose Situational Depression?

A therapy session

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, it is important to see a mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis. They will ask you about your symptoms and how long you have been experiencing them. They will also ask about any major life changes or stressors that have occurred recently.

It is important to note that not everyone who experiences a stressful event might experience a major depressive episode. A mental health professional will be able to determine if your symptoms are due to situational depression or other mental disorders.

How To Treat Situational Depression

If situational depression goes untreated, it can lead to major depression. The treatment for situational depression will vary depending on the severity of the symptoms. Treatment options include:

  • Psychotherapy: This type of counseling can help you manage your emotions and thoughts.
  • Medication: If the symptoms are severe, your doctor may prescribe medication to help stabilize your mood. Common drugs used to treat depression include antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
  • Self-care: Taking care of yourself is an important part of recovery. This may include exercise, relaxation techniques, and a healthy diet.
  • Family therapy: This type of therapy can help you and your family understand and support each other.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: This type of therapy can help you change the negative thought patterns that contribute to depression.

If you or someone you know is struggling with situational depression, resources are available to help. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers support groups and educational resources for people with mental illness and their loved ones. You can also call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-NAMI (2646) to speak to someone who can help.


Situational depression is a type of depression that is caused by a stressful event. It can be treated with therapy, medication, and self-care. If you think you may be suffering from situational depression, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. With treatment, you can start to feel better and get your life back on track.

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