We all feel blue sometimes, and it is normal to be sad in reaction to an event that is unhappy, stressful, or traumatic. Grief will follow the illness or death of a loved one, the loss of a close relationship, or termination from a job. Financial or legal problems can cause anxiety and depressed mood.
These normal reactions to such situations are termed reactive mood disturbance or adjustment disorder . The difference between someone experiencing a reactive mood disturbance and someone who is clinically depressed is:
- Someone with a reactive mood disturbance will soon be able to place things in perspective and move on with other areas of life.
- A person who is clinically depressed is unable to get past the grief or disappointment - and sometimes the grief is for non-specific or vaguely defined reasons.
Clinical depression can be compared to a veil that clouds and dulls one's entire view of the world. A depressed person may not recognize when a clinical problem is present. It is easy to explain away the symptoms by blaming them on stress or adverse events.
And even when stress or events are the trigger, understanding the cause is not always enough to lift the depression. Simply taking a vacation will not "cure" clinical depression, because the root of the problem will still be present upon one's return.
It is sensible to ask a close friend or relative to give an honest opinion about how they think the individual is doing. Professional help may be needed if:
- There is agreement that the person is not functioning well
- Many of the symptoms of major depression have been present for at least two weeks
- Suicidal thinking is prominent
Need To Know:
What to do if a person is feeling suicidal