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Difference Between Clinical Depression and Situational Depression

What is the Difference between Clinical Depression and Situational Depression

Situational depression is a psychological state where emotions and sentiments of a person are affected by a certain situational factor. What is the difference between Clinical Depression and Situational Depression? In the former case, a depressive period is experienced by the sufferer that is caused by the situation and circumstance encountered by the person and likely to halt its existence if and when the cause stops to exist. In the latter case episodes of depression are experienced without any reasonable circumstances that would be likely to cause depression, similar to physical or emotional discomfort.

Importance of Symptoms

In order to determine successfully whether the person is undergoing an episode of despondency of short duration because of the condition or not, it is very significant to know about the symptoms causing situational depression. Depression is often used in a vague way to define moods ranging from feeling low to even desperate thoughts of committing suicide.

Situational depression differs from clinical depression in terms of severity. The characteristics that will decide the intensity of depressive episodes each time are dependent on the psychological state, genetics, environment contributions and physical chemistry.

Those people who have a medical history of psychological problems along with the above characteristics are more exposed to situational depression. They are more prone to experience depressive periods in the event of emotional outburst. In case of low self-dignity or respect, the matter can get worse even more.

Understanding Situational Depression Symptoms

The symptoms of situational depression are momentary or short-term and usually disappears the moment patient get accustomed to the incident or situation of life. Initially these signs might be severe for a certain time period, but later on these are normally improved by adopting coping techniques followed by medical treatment.

People going through situational depression can feel de-motivated and face difficulty in executing the allotted tasks.

They may also experience low level of energy.

Sleep disturbance is also one of the signs; where the person might have difficulty in getting sleep even after staying in bed for prolonged time.

Loss of memory is another noticeable symptom where an individual is unable to focus on school or job as a resultant work might suffer.

These symptoms need to be studied and comprehended in more details. However, when the symptoms of situational depression are found within a time span of a year after the bereavement of losing parent, spouse or a child; the loss of employment or source of income; or cultural change of losing a property or shifting to distant areas, the close relatives and friends must take a decision of offering assistance immediately.


Individuals suffering from situational depression generally experience insomnia but in few cases even oversleeping can also be experienced. Changes in the sleeping cycle may cause irritation and loss of energy thus making it hard to perform routine jobs. Melancholy and compulsive crying, especially at the inception of depression, can be persistent thus avoiding the sufferers from enjoying any of the normal activities.


Uneasiness and concern might control the individual completely, changing his discernment and opinion regarding the routine events. Heart palpitations can also result in the person being under the fear of health hazards. Negativity in one’s way of thinking may cause the relationships to be strained and failed causing more gloominess in one’s point of view.

Loss of Appetite

Loss of appetite is one of the commonest symptoms of situational depression. People may find themselves in the habit of overeating to cope up with the anxiety or may experience a loss of appetite entirely. As a result, drastic weight gain or loss is observed. All this causes the depression to intensify even more.

Avoidance of Social Interactions

Becoming indifferent towards social relations is a symptom which must not be taken lightly at all. Growing indifference towards one’s social life time and again makes people to suffer from situational depression. In turn, this leads to complete isolation leaving people lonely and misread. Their involvement in social activities fails due to lack of enthusiasm or apathy from their side.


Feeling of despondency overpowers the people going through situational depression. They feel the inability of managing their life and are not able to find options. Eventually, they end up being a victim of drug or alcohol abuse for coping up with these sentiments.

Absenteeism from Work and School

Psychosomatic illnesses such as headaches and stomachaches are common symptoms of situational depression and result in missed school or work; making the person fail in keeping up the commitments and increasing the stress.

The symptoms discussed above are exhibited within a span of three months from the occurrence of the traumatic event and continue for next six months subsequent to the event. The consequences of these events can be crucial and can overpower a person’s mental faculties.

Treating Situational Depression

The treatment of situational depression is very important. The experts and psychiatrists must be consulted without any delay and proper counseling must be sought. These specialists can diagnose the physical conditions accurately. They can also offer guidance related to maintaining a healthy physique and antidepressants can be prescribed for speedy recovery. Professional counseling also proves to be effective in many cases along with talk therapy.

There are several natural therapies as well to treat this disorder effectively with herbs and vitamins. (See here: Natural Remedies for Depression)

Being aware of these things is the only way to prevent depressive episodes of situational depression.


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