What is Reactive Depression?
While depression is a common psychiatric illness that’s easy to diagnose and detect, the sub-types of depression that has specific attributes, causes and treatments are a lot harder to discern and dissect. These depression types can come in the forms of post-natal depression, reactive depression, major depressive disorder, childhood depression, manic depression, seasonal-affective disorder, premenstrual depression, childhood depression and dysthymia. Having the ability to separate one from the other can go a long way when it comes to employing the best methods for management and treatment of each depressive disorders.
Reactive depression draws some attention because it is one of a type of depression that can be traced to a starting root cause that triggered the onset of the depressive disorder. The trigger is normally a difficult or painful circumstance, often times relating to family or close relationships. Depression is then the mind’s way of coping with such events. Typical examples that constitute reactive depression include divorce, being fired from a job, the loss of a loved one, stressful work environments, a change in address and many others.
Because reactive depression is triggered by a specific event that most likely is of extreme importance to the patient, this type of depression will typically be more severe than other cases. However, there can be exceptions to this statement as severity is many times tied to many other factors such as health and the presence or absence of a support structure that would allow the patient to better cope with the depression. Still, reactive depression episodes typically peak within a short time after the trigger occurred and will gradually drag out to a sustained level unless attended by a competent medical professional. As with other cases, suicidal tendencies can epitomize the apex of the illness if not arrested within the existing support structure.
There are also several management and treatment methods that can be employed to address reactive depression. At the forefront of these methods is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which seeks to alleviate the condition through counseling that is aimed at making the patient realize how certain events in life are unavoidable and shouldn’t be construed as a prevailing condition against the patient. This works by challenging the absolute negative that stems from personal coping mechanisms to explain why the trigger had to happen in the first place. Thoughts like “I always have bad luck” or “Nobody likes me” or “The world is always conspiring to bring me down” are the psychological barriers that CBT seeks to disarm.
Other treatment forms include targeting specific symptoms to alleviate the general condition of the patient. Sleeplessness and appetite loss can both be treated by relaxation methods coupled with medication in order to promote a general feeling of well being and peace. This can also be coupled with self-help tips like mental exercises to actively negate the depressive thoughts and replace them with more optimistic and upbeat ones.
Like most cases of depression, the reactive depression is challenging and can present problems to the family and the patient in general. Careful efforts need to be employed to determine the underlying cause so it can be addressed and resolved so as to eliminate the illness.