WellSpan Home

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.footnote 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:footnote 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.

Health Tools

Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.

Interactive tools are designed to help people determine health risks, ideal weight, target heart rate, and more.

Related Information

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 (2013). Trauma- and stressor-related disorders. In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed., pp. 265-290. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJessica Hamblen, PhD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Current as ofMay 3, 2017


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×