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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.
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:
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.footnote 1
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:footnote 2
Other symptoms of depression include losing or gaining weight, sleeping too much or too little, and feeling unworthy or guilty.
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):
Take any warning signs of suicide seriously.
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CitationsKessler RC, et al. (1995). Posttraumatic stress disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey. Archives of General Psychiatry, 52(12): 1048–1060.American Psychiatric Association (2013). Trauma- and stressor-related disorders. In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed., pp. 265–290. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerJessica Hamblen, PhD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Current as ofJuly 26, 2016
Current as of: July 26, 2016
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Jessica Hamblen, PhD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
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