Sansum Clinic
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) font size
PrintEmail
Share
Follow us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter    View our YouTube Videos
 "Like" us on facebook

Channel Manager

PTSD and Depression

Topic Contents

PTSD and Depression

Overview

Depression is common in men and women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) . The trauma that caused PTSD also may cause depression.

If you have either of these mental health problems, it is possible you have the other. You may need to treat both of them.

PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something horrible and scary that you see or that happens to you. During this type of event, you think that your life or others' lives are in danger.

Anyone who has gone through a life-threatening event can develop PTSD. These events include:

  • Combat or terrorist attacks.
  • Violent crimes, such as rape, child abuse, or a physical attack.
  • Serious accidents, such as a car wreck.
  • Natural disasters, such as a fire, tornado, flood, or earthquake.

After going through a traumatic event, you may feel upset by things that remind you of what happened. You may have nightmares, vivid memories, or flashbacks of the event and feel like it's happening all over again. You also may avoid situations that remind you of the event, and you may feel numb or lose interest in things you used to care about.

Depression happens more often than any other medical problem in women who have PTSD, and it occurs often in men with PTSD. 1

Depression

Depression can make you feel overwhelmed, sad, or hopeless. You may feel like your problems are piling up, and you can't fix them. These symptoms can last for a long time, or they might come and go. Being depressed doesn't mean you're weak, and it doesn't mean you're just feeling sorry for yourself. It is a problem that can be helped.

Common symptoms of depression are: 2

  • Feeling sad or hopeless.
  • Losing your interest in or not getting pleasure from most daily activities that you enjoyed in the past.

Other symptoms of depression include losing or gaining weight, sleeping too much or too little, and feeling unworthy or guilty.

  • Take this short quiz to check for symptoms of depression.
  • For more information, see the topic Depression.

Get treatment

If you think you have PTSD or depression, talk to your doctor. Starting treatment is the best thing you can do.

Both PTSD and depression can lead to suicide. Call 911 or other emergency services if you (or someone you care about who has depression or PTSD):

  • Plan to harm yourself or others.
  • Talk, write, read, or draw about death, including writing suicide notes and talking about items that can harm you, such as pills, guns, or knives.
  • Buy guns or bullets, stockpile medicines, or take other action to prepare for a suicide attempt. You may have a new interest in guns or other weapons.
  • Hear or see things that aren't real.
  • Think or speak in a bizarre way that is not like your usual behavior.

Take any warning signs of suicide seriously.

References

Citations

  1. Kessler RC, et al. (1995). Posttraumatic stress disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey. Archives of General Psychiatry, 52(12): 1048–1060.
  2. American Psychiatric Association (2000). Depressive disorders. In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., text rev., pp. 349–381. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Jessica Hamblen, PhD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Last Revised January 9, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

 
© 2014 Sansum Clinic