ZocdocAnswersHow do situational depression and clinical depression differ?

Question

How do situational depression and clinical depression differ?

Will my situational depression go away? I am 28 and I don't want to be depressed for the rest of my life.

Answer

Situational depression is not a commonly used clinical diagnosis. Depression, and its various forms, are however fairly common. If you are feeling depressed I would recommend seeing your primary care doctor. He or she can help diagnose what (if any) form of depression you are suffering from and potentially start treatment for this. In addition, if necessary, a psychiatrist (or mood disorder specialist) may be helpful. Clinical depression is formally known as Major Depressive Disorder. In this, people have occasional major depressive episodes. These episodes last on the order of months to years. The diagnosis of this requires that people experience a constellation of symptoms, including feelings of sadness, changes in appetite, energy, sleep habits, feelings of guild, loss of interest or concentration and finally suicidal thoughts. If you at any point feel the desire to hurt yourself or commit suicide you must IMMEDIATELY go to the nearest emergency room. There are many other forms of "depression" outside of Major Depressive Disorder. One of these, which may be situational, is known as Normal grief. These are the normal feelings of depression that occur after a major life event (like the loss of a loved one). This lasts under 6 months. Over 6 months, one may suffer from a "adjustment disorder." Talk to your doctor. After making a diagnosis, there are many good treatments for depression and its forms. Good luck!

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