Reactive Depression: When Outside Events Exceed Us

Reactive Depression: When Outside Events Exceed Us

A death, a break, professional harassment, a situation of intense family stress maintained over time … Thedepositreactive reaction may occur for different reasons. Nevertheless, this mood characterized by discouragement, despair and irritability is always a response to one or more very specific external events that, at some point, surpass us.

We all know that it is not always easy to find the origin of a depressive state. Physiological, environmental and personal factors sometimes set up a ball that is very difficult to disentangle. However, we can say that there is often a sufficiently clear trigger. There is indeed a stressor that the patient can not bear. So that there appears a series of psychological processes as exhausting as they are incapacitating.

Reactive depression results from a negative event in the person's life. It is more common among women than men and is almost always the result of a family problem or event.
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Reactive or situational depression is the most common mood disorder in a clinical setting. Knowing this condition can in a way help us to also become aware of a simple aspect. We are all likely to experience this type of personal reality.

Beyond these physiological causes, we must not forget the psychosocial field, which we do not always control.Indeed, as Vicente Aleixandre said in one of his poems, life is difficult, so difficult that it is not enough to row with force to advance.We are sometimes stuck.

What is reactive depression and what are its symptoms?

There is an obvious fact that most of us will have seen often. We do not suffer all the effects in the same way when life mistreats us (to suffer a theft, to lose one's work, to be deceived by our spouse …).Some, for whatever reason, have better resources, greater psychological flexibility, and a stronger and more resilient muscle.

Others, on the other hand, receive the impact as if someone were throwing an object on the windshield of a car. This surface will probably not break immediately, but we will see some cracks on the glass. This is all the more dangerous. This is what we call residual stress.

This windshield will sooner or later break. It's exactly the same thing with many people.Several weeks may elapse between this adverse or problematic event and the highlighting of the clinical setting of reactive depression.

The symptoms of reactive depression

We have often posted it on this blog.No psychological disorder has an exact symptomatology in each patient. In addition, we sometimes encounter very heterogeneous and very complex clinical frameworks. When it comes to reactive depression, we must not forget one important element: it is closely related to the personality of the patient. Nevertheless, some distinctive dimensions of this condition are generally highlighted:

  • The feeling of sadness and dejection is a characteristic common to all patients.This emotional reality arises after a problematic event that the person interprets as being the origin of his state.
  • There is also a loss of interest in all kinds of activities. A lack of pleasure, motivation or ability to take responsibility for daily tasks, too.
  • The person completely loses his energy. Just getting out of bed is a big effort.
  • Feelings of guilt and catastrophic thoughts.
  • The person focuses only on the negative aspects of everything around them.
  • One fact that helps specialists differentiate endogenous depression from reactive depression is that, in the latter case, there are no excessive physical symptoms. In other words,patients do not have excessive muscle pain, headache or weight loss. They rather experience insomnia or hypersomnia.

What are the factors that may predispose us to reactive depression?

We have several studies allowing us to better understand the anatomy of this type of depression. Thus, neuropsychiatrists such as Jin Mizushima explain that we should not neglect the personality factor, as well as other conditioning factors. Let's look at some of them below.

  • People in constant stress situations are more likely to develop this condition.
  • They are also profiles presenting a strong self-requirement.Very perfectionistic individuals.
  • While there is often a genetic factor in endogenous depression, other factors such as low self-esteem and external attribution style weigh more heavily on reactive depression. These are psychological dimensions where individuals feel that they have no control over reality. Where all events, all their successes or failures depend on external events.

Treatment for reactive depression

As we indicated at the beginning,Reactive depression is one of the most common disorders among the population, especially among women.We can nevertheless say that, despite its high incidence, it is among all types of depression, the one with the best prognosis. It is usually essential to seek professional help. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most effective in these cases.

  • Having a strong connection with the psychologist is the key to starting to address these stressful events that have impacted the patient.One of the most important approaches is undoubtedly to confront the facts, tomanage all this accumulation of emotions and foster an adequate cognitive restructuring capable of generating new, more adapted and more positive behaviors.
  • The pharmacological aspect can not however be ignored. For example, antidepressants such as SSRIs, ISRNs or tricyclics tend to offer the best results.

To conclude. The vast majority of individuals respond fairly quickly to treatment once the underlying problem is addressed, and are provided with the appropriate tools to deal with it.Therefore, do not hesitate to seek help and to avoid that these painful states become chronic with time.


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