Reactive depression is a little known form of depression whose name is self explanatory. It’s caused by a change in circumstance, and can be anything from the death of a loved one, a job, a change in home, or any other change that the mind struggles to cope with. When the stimulus that causes it is taken away (or the person has finished grieving), the symptoms subside.
Its symptoms are a mixture of depression and anxiety symptoms, and include:
- Heart palpitations
- Random aches and pains
- Memory problems
- Thinking of death or suicidal thoughts
- Difficulty making decisions
- Loss of libido
- Insomnia or an otherwise affected sleeping pattern
- Weight gain or loss
- Crying for what seems like no reason
- Feelings of loss, emptiness, guilt, hopelessness or other negative emotions
As reactive depression is caused by events or situations, it usually does not respond to antidepressants. The best form of treatment for reactive depression is “talking therapy” – seeing a counsellor, therapist, or other trained person.
A few months ago I was diagnosed with reactive depression. Unfortunately for me, it’s not as easy as taking the stimulus away, as there are several, rather than just one. However, I can vouch for the fact that speaking to someone outside of the situation helps. It’s often useful in any situation to see a different perspective, as is having someone who doesn’t know me remind me that the situation is temporary and that there are solutions to the problems, even if I can’t see them at the time. It’s helped me to re-evaluate my priorities and learn to let go of my control freak tendencies.
No form of depression is fun to live with, but at least with reactive depression there’s often a way out, and the best thing to do if you’re suffering from it is to remember that.