Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Is reactive depression the same as adjustment disorder?"

ZocdocAnswersIs reactive depression the same as adjustment disorder?


My daughter has been diagnosed with reactive depression. What is this? Adjustment disorder?


Reactive depression can be called an adjustment disorder with depressed mood, yes. Reactive depression or adjustment disorder is a sub-category of clinical depression defined by depressive symptoms in response to a psychosocial stressor (e.g death of a loved one, harassment, financial difficulties) and which are considered out of proportion as an appropriate response to that stressor. The symptoms must occur within 3 months of onset of the stressor and not last for more than 6 months after the stressor has been removed from the person's life. In short, it is a form of depression which has not yet met criteria for major depression (> 6 months) and is due to an identifiable cause. Often times, these conditions will resolve on their own with support from family and loved ones and life changes to remove the stressor if this is at all possible, however if the symptoms persist or affect the patient to a great extent or jeopardize safety, then intervention will be needed. This may take the form of formal counseling or brief episodes of anti-depressive medications. Check with your psychiatrist for specific recommendations for you and your daughter.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.