If you are suffering from situational depression, a change in lifestyle may not be enough. Situational depression medications can often help on the road to recovery.
Situational depression, also known as reactive depression or adjustment disorder, is a form of depression resulting from environmental causes such as the loss of a loved one or negative changes in working environments. Unlike biological depression, situational depression doesn’t necessarily stem from a chemical imbalance in the body. Instead, it results from an extended reaction to outside influences. The use of medications depends on the severity of its symptoms.
Recognizing Symptoms of Depression
All changes in life result in some level of stress that can affect your mental health. Even positive changes can cause some discomfort for many people. However, depression is categorized by severe extended symptoms that do not subside in a reasonable time period. A person suffering from situational depression may experience feelings of extended guilt or helplessness, a lack of pleasure in life, and decreased energy. You may also experience more severe symptoms such as thoughts of suicide or a desire to harm yourself.
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Identifying Your Level of Depression
The experience of depression is unique to each individual. However, the medical community classifies depression into two main categories. Major depression or clinical depression is a severe form of depression that can be biological or situational. People experiencing major depression exhibit symptoms of depression for at least two weeks. The combination of symptoms interferes with a person’s ability to work, eat, and function in everyday life. Minor depression may present some of the same symptoms as major depression but is characterized by fewer and less severe symptoms. People experiencing minor depression are typically able to function, but they may experience more difficulty in daily tasks. Various websites offer lists of symptoms that will enable a person to evaluate his or her level of depression. However, a professional diagnosis is the best way to evaluate your level of depression.
Treatment Options for Situational Depression
If you are diagnosed with mild depression, you may not need medications. Changes in lifestyle, behavioral therapy, and various natural supplements can all help with minor forms of situational depression. However, major situational depression is often treated with a combination of medications and other forms of therapy. When it comes to medication, depression is similar to other medical conditions. Whether the cause for a condition is known or not, the symptoms must be treated before the proper time can be spent treating the underlying problem. After a diagnosis of depression, a medical professional can offer advice as to what forms of depression treatment are best suited to your situation. As every patient is unique, various types of medications may be prescribed.
Antidepressants Used to Treat Major Situational Depression
Major situational depression may be treated with a variety of antidepressants. The most commonly prescribed forms of antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. SSRIs block absorption of serotonin in the brain. Essentially, SSRIs make it easier for the brain to send and receive chemical signals. The byproduct of the easier communication in the brain is a more positive mood. In more severe cases, Tryciclics may be used. They are more powerful, but they also have more serious side effects. For some forms of atypical depression, monoamine oxidase inhibitors may also be used. However, MAOIs potentially interact with certain foods and medications, so they are prescribed with caution.
Using Antidepressant Medications
Most antidepressants require an extended period of between four and six weeks to fully take effect. The medicine must be absorbed by the body and must build up in the system to properly treat the symptoms of depression. During this time, patients taking antidepressants may feel less in control of their moods and feelings as their bodies adjust. Keeping in contact with your doctor and/or psychiatrist is crucial during this phase. After the medication has taken effect and symptoms have subsided, further therapy may be recommended. Under no circumstances should you ever quit using antidepressants without consulting a medical professional first. Quitting suddenly or improperly can result in a return of previous symptoms or withdrawal.
Treating the Underlying Causes
After medications are prescribed and the symptoms of depression diminish or subside, it is important to treat the major causes of the depression. As situational depression is the result of external factors rather than biological ones, various forms of psychotherapy may be employed to treat the true cause of the depression. While you may feel better after taking antidepressants, the external factors contributing to your depression may still be present. With careful guidance from medical professionals and psychiatrists, a patient suffering from situational depression can overcome the external stressors causing the depression. Once these external stressors have been properly addressed, medications can be reduced. In most cases of situational or reactive depression, medications can eventually be abandoned altogether.
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