Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Does situational depression eventually go away?"
How long will it take? I watched my mother get hit by a car. How can I ever get over that?
Being the victim of or witnessing a traumatic event can often have lasting and devastating consequences on our mood, mind, and the way we perceive the world. There are a number of psychiatric conditions that commonly affect persons who witnessed a traumatic experience such as yourself. The most important distinction to make is between normal grief and clinical depression. The loss of a loved one, or any traumatic life change, triggers grief, which is a normal emotional response while adjusting to such an event. Some of the aspects of normal grief are similar to those of depression, such as low mood, changes in sleep, or feelings of guilt. If the severity of symptoms is great enough to significantly impact the patient's ability to function in their every day life, or if the symptoms go on for greater than six months to a year, a psychiatrist may diagnose this pattern of behavior as depression. Major depression is a disorder of episodes. Many people do experience remission of their depressive symptoms either spontaneously or with adequate treatment administered by a psychiatrist. There are many forms of talk therapy, counseling, and medication that are very successful at helping people overcome depression. Depression is a very serious illness and the mortality rate from suicide in depressed patients is high without appropriate counseling. If you have any depressive symptoms such as depressed mood, changes in appetite, changes in sleep habits, feelings of guilt and/or worthlessness, slowing of your speech or actions, loss of interest or pleasure in things you once enjoyed, or thoughts of suicide; you should be seen and evaluated by a psychiatrist immediately. There is not substitute for evaluation in person by a psychiatrist, as this is the only way depression or other psychiatric diseases can be accurately diagnosed or treated.