The ups and downs of life can be stressful and make us all feel depressed and anxious at times. It’s estimated that approximately 280 million people worldwide deal with some type of depression.1 One event or a series of events can be the catalyst, or other factors may play a role, as there are different types of depression. If you or a loved one suffers from depression, it’s important to recognize the different types so they can find the right treatment program. We’ll explain the differences between situational and clinical depression and how a mental health IOP in Scottsdale can help.
What is Clinical Depression?
When you hear someone talk about clinical depression, they are referring to one or several types of serious depressive disorders that can happen with or without a specific stressor.2 It can also be referred to as major depressive disorder.
Clinical depression or major depressive disorder is diagnosed when intense symptoms persist for longer than two weeks. It typically interferes with everyday life and makes it difficult to accomplish certain tasks.
What Causes Clinical Depression?
While there is no specific cause for clinical depression, some research indicates that neurotransmitters may play a role.3 Neurotransmitters are a part of the nervous system that play a crucial role in human development and many bodily functions. They send messages by traveling between cells and attaching to specific receptors. The brain needs neurotransmitters to regulate many necessary functions, including mood. An appropriate balance of neurotransmitters can help to prevent depression and other conditions.
Other factors are believed to play a role in clinical depression. These include:
- Major life events
- Genetic factors
- Alcohol and drug use
Clinical depression can include several different types of depression, such as:
- Persistent Depressive Disorder (a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years)
- Postpartum Depression (severe depression after a woman gives birth)
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (depression triggered by less sunlight during the winter)
- Psychotic Depression (severe depression triggered by a co-occurring psychosis)
Symptoms of Clinical Depression
Although clinical depression impacts everyone differently, there are similar symptoms that many people experience:
- Digestive issues
- Changes in appetite
- Feeling sad
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Feeling worthless
- Trouble concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts
People don’t need to experience all of these symptoms to be diagnosed with clinical depression. Your healthcare provider will look into your symptoms and complete an evaluation to determine whether you are experiencing clinical depression.
Treating Clinical Depression
Treatment for clinical depression can vary from patient to patient. Typical treatments can include medication or psychotherapy. Many patients require a combination of both to treat their clinical depression successfully.
Therapy treatments can be done alone or in a group setting. Sometimes family therapy is also used depending on the situation.
What is Situational Depression
Unlike clinical depression, situational depression is short-term. It is a type of adjustment disorder brought by stress or a traumatic life event. It can still impact people’s lives dramatically as they deal with these feelings.
What Types of Events Can Cause Situational Depression?
There are many different types of events that can cause situational depression. These include:
- Relationship problems
- Illness or injury of the person or someone close to them
- Situational changes such as retirement, having a baby, or moving
- Negative financial situations
- Death of a loved one
- Being the victim of an assault or natural disaster
How you deal with these stressful situations can determine whether you experience situational depression. Previous life experiences can affect the way you deal with stress. If you have existing mental health problems, had a stressful childhood, or have experienced several difficult life circumstances, you could be at higher risk of situational depression.
Symptoms of Situational Depression
Situational depression can present itself in several different ways. Symptoms can include:
- Not enjoying regular activities
- Frequent crying
- Trouble sleeping and focusing
- Constantly worrying or feeling stressed
- Avoiding social situations
- Ignoring important tasks like going to work or paying bills
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Thoughts or attempts at suicide
If you are experiencing any of those symptoms, you must see a medical provider to determine the type of depression you are dealing with. Many people with situational depression begin having symptoms within three months of a stressful event. Situational depression typically does not last a long time.
Treating Situational Depression
Treatment for situational depression can include lifestyle changes such as:
- Regular exercise
- Eating a well-balanced diet
- Getting a good night’s sleep
Talking with loved ones can also be helpful, as well as joining a support group. Some people are also prescribed medications for a short time to help them deal with their situational depression.
Main Differences Between Situational and Clinical Depression
As you compare situational and clinical depression, the main differences are:
- A stressful life event typically triggers situational depression
- Clinical depression lasts longer
- Symptoms of situational and clinical depression can mimic one another
- Treatments for both types of depression can include therapy and medication when needed
- Lifestyle changes can help people suffering from situational depression
Recognizing the symptoms of depression and getting the necessary treatment can have impactful consequences on your life. Conditions can persist without a diagnosis and treatment and lead to severe consequences.
How a Mental Health IOP in Scottsdale Can Help
If you are experiencing depression, the team at Healing Foundations Center can help. We offer a variety of treatments for depression, including:
- Individual therapy with the patient and therapist
- Group therapy with two or more patients
- Marital or couples therapy with spouses or partners
- Family therapy with all family members
- Intensive outpatient therapy
Our team can help determine which types of treatment would be best to treat your condition. We strive to help people deal with depression and lead productive lives. Call us today or contact us online to learn more about our programs and how we can help.