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There’s a difference between what most of us think of as “clinical depression” and feeling depressed. So let’s make some sense of it for a practical understanding.

Clinical depression or Major Depressive Disorder for example, is a more pervasive, entrenched kind of emotional experience than a depressed mood. Typically, symptoms are more severe and long-lasting. Of course, the medical and mental health communities have ways of talking about these things so that we understand among ourselves as to what kind of emotional experience our clients may be having.

Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, and Adjustment Disorder differ from each other – most notably characterized by timeframes (onset and duration), impact on social and occupational functioning, and origins of the symptoms, such as triggering events or circumstances, or medical or biochemical causes.

depressionblogWhat I am talking about here today is what we call a “situational” or “reactive” depression.  But forgoing the psychiatric labels, this is the kind of emotional experience that is characterized by sadness and all its other potentially-related feelings, that arise out of a profound disappointment or loss.

Simply, it stems from a desire for life to go the way we want it to go – and when it doesn’t we are saddened and have difficulty recovering emotionally.  We feel “bad”.  I mentioned that sadness is for most, a prime emotional experience in feeling depressed, but can include other feelings like anger, anxiety, loneliness, resentment, or betrayal. Feelings of depression can come both from negative and positive experiences.

How do you recover from a situational, or a reactive depression. If disappointment or dissatisfaction are the root causes, what is the root cure? Let’s talk about that in my next post. Until then,

– “Thoughts become things . . . choose the good ones.”

Kevin Michael Ross, M.S., LMFT

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