Is My Psychological Problem Recognized in the DSM or Peer-Reviewed Journals?

Here’s my problem: whenever I return home from an away-from-home activity or event, I’m listless and depressed for a while. The length of time I’m out of sorts is directly to porportional to the magnitude of the event.

[li]Coming home from spending a weekend with Mrs. Homie’s family in Missouri = slightly bummed for a couple of hours.[/li][li]Coming home from a trip to St. Louis to see the Cubs & Cardinals play a game = bored, unmotivated, and bummed all the next day.[/li][li]Coming home after spending four days at camp with dancing, singing, playing, and happy children = totally depressed for about 3-4 days.[/li][li]Coming home after a major vacation such as going to Disneyworld with Mrs. Homie = totally shot for at least a week or longer.[/li][/ul]

Any psychiatrists, psychologist, MD’s or researches familiar with any clinical studies of this problem? Is there a name for it in the DSM-IV?

I’m sure somebody who actually finished grad school in Clinical Psych will be along to give you more details, but here’s my $0.02:

DSM has a sizable list of mood disorders, based on recurrence of episodes, causal factors (drugs, life events, etc). There (probably stiill) is a listing for Mood Disorders Not Otherwise Specified.

The tricky thing about DSM categories is that many of them describe normal characteristics that are exaggerated in some people. By loose standards, I could diagnose myself with half the book. But very few clinicians would diagnose me with any of this.

IMHO, what you’re describing sounds essentially like part of the experience of being human. The yardstick for whether it’s a problem that should be treated? Most shrinks, I think, would agree that the main question is how much it disrupts your life… then they’ll find something in the book.

Standard caveats apply. The Straight Dope Message Board is not, and should not be viewed as, a substitute for advice from a qualified professional. The same applies to looking it up yourself in any source. If it’s more than an academic question, ask your doctor.

This is fairly normal. Everyone gets blue when they go back to work. I mean, are you attempting suicide or quitting your job during these depressive periods? If the depression doesnt interfere with your life then I doubt its a treatable or recognized condition. If it is then its probably situational depression/adjustment depression.

I’ve actually thought about both, a couple of times.

Engywook’s take on the DSM matches what I know. Everyone is nervous in front of crowds; only a few people have it bad enough to be called an anxiety disorder. The same line of thinking goes for just about everything.

Personally, I would take your depression upon returning as a cue that you’re probably not happy with parts of your life. Do a little introspection and see if you can come up with any changes that might work to better suit your needs. If, for example, you discover that you need more interaction with people and family, you could set up a family bowling night, do some volunteer work or change to a job with more interaction.

Is it possible there’s some environmental cause? An associate pastor at our church was suffering from a number of medical problems (some physical, but depression was one of the symptoms). After many years and millions of tests, they figured out it was an allergy to mold on fir trees and it was triggering autoimmune responses. He moved away from western Washington (where there are lots of fir trees and moisture) to eastern Oregon (where there isn’t) and is now is better health and spirits than ever. His first clue that it could have an environmental cause was that he’d feel better during even short vacations and then feel worse upon returning home.

Either way, its worth seeing a doctor about if you’re feeling the way you describe.

If you have suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself or others, you need to speak to someone. I’m glad that you usually come out of it. Also, like dracoi says, you should look at your life and what you’re happy with/not happy with. A therapist/spiritual adviser can help guide you through this difficult process. Something isn’t right, and whether it’s something that’s a psychological condition requiring medication or something you just need to talk through is up to a trained professional.

I wish you the best in dealing with this.