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Reactive depression

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The term reactive depression is a category of clinical depression. It refers to an inappropriate state of depression that is precipitated by events in the person's life (to be distinguished from normal grief) arising as a consequence of severe life events, for example the loss of home in a fire. It should be distinguished from PTSD which has more pronounced anxiety features and characteristic patterns of flashbacks etc. Reactive depression must be considered in relationship to the events that caused it, severe traumatic events would be expected to produce reactive depression. Such depression becomes a clinical concern if the depression lasts too long without signs of recovery, or if the depression becomes too deep, for example, leading to suicidal feelings. In many cases, reactive depressions resolve themselves as the individual copes and recovers from the event. If the depression becomes a clinical concern then treatment may be necessary. Reactive depression may be complicated by a history of poor coping, use of alcohol or other drugs or by an extremely poor support system.


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