PTSD and Depression

Overview

Depression is common in men and women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Major life events like divorce, going to war, or being in an accident sometimes can lead to depression. The trauma that is causing your PTSD also may be making you depressed.

Having a family history of depression or having a serious illness such as cancer also may put you at risk. Depression can affect all ages and races.

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.

Other symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling angry or grumpy.
  • Crying for no reason.
  • Feeling empty or numb.
  • Feeling guilty or worthless.
  • Losing interest in things you used to enjoy.
  • Having trouble remembering things or making decisions.
  • Having problems sleeping.
  • Having problems with sex.
  • Thinking about or planning to hurt yourself.

You also may have physical symptoms such as:

  • Headaches or other body aches and pains.
  • Digestive problems such as constipation or diarrhea.

Without treatment, depression can make other health problems worse. You also may be more likely to get sick.

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.

If you think you may be depressed, talk to your doctor. Starting treatment now is the best thing you can do for depression. Counseling and medicine can help you get better.

To find out if you have depression, your doctor will give you a physical exam and ask questions about how you feel. He or she may refer to these questions as a psychological exam. Your doctor will want to know what other health problems you have, or what health problems run in your family.

For more information, see the topics Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression.

Credits

Author Jeannette Curtis
Editor Kathleen M. Ariss, MS
Associate Editor Pat Truman, MATC
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Jessica Hamblen, PhD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Last Updated January 21, 2009

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