How common is depression in people with post-traumatic stress disorder?

Depression is commonly found in people diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression occurred in 40% of PTSD patients one to four months after the event. The good news is that both PTSD and depression respond well to medical and talk therapy treatment, particularly if they are caught early.

Studies show that trauma can change the actual chemistry in the brain. In fact, a severe external event can bring on depression. Further, any previous trauma you've experienced can impact (worsen) your current reaction.

Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may find it contributes to or causes other disorders such as depression. According to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, depression is three to five times more likely to occur in someone with PTSD than in the general population. The painful feelings that come from a traumatic event—grief, anger, fear, “survivor’s guilt”—are difficult for a PTSD sufferer to work through, and depression can be the result. Depression has overlapping symptoms with PTSD, such as inability to focus, alienation from other people, and irritability.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.