PTSD and depression. There is a solution!

The main symptom in the clinical presentation of PTSD is a depressive syndrome. In a state of depression, the post-traumatic stress reaches the darkest depths of human despair, when it seems, that everything is meaningless and useless. This feeling of depression is accompanied by the nervous exhaustion, apathy and negativism.

Most often in the patients with PTSD symptoms of reactive and exhaustive depression can be found. The fundamental criterion, which distinguishes these types of depression, is Jasper’s triad, including:

  • The fact of traumatic situation in the past and its psychological bonds with the depressive position;
  • Reflection of the situation in experiences and depressive symptoms of the patient;
  • After the resolution of the situation (discharging of traumatic experience), depression disappears.

However, one should differentiate depression itself and other disorders from PTSD, as the etiological factor for the development of these personality disorders may serve the traumatic event as well.

Unlike PTSD, a psychogenic depression which is triggered by the experience of traumatic situation, can occur at another point of time after the exposure to a stress, and include various clinical symptoms, which may be not typical for PTSD. In case of the latent depression, symptoms like low mood, decreased overall activity or anhedonia may be absent at all or hardly presented. Core symptoms of depression at the same time may be blurred or somatized. Clinical presentation of PTSD may also be characterized by vague or general symptoms. The developed disorder will manifest itself not in the depressive syndrome only, but with an addition of different kind of symptoms (demonstration of addictive or aggressive behavior, psychosomatic disorders).

In fact, the phenomenon that we call a depression has much in common with the post-traumatic stress disorder, but at the same time, the latter has a number of special features. Unlike depression, PTSD always has a specific reason. A depressed person often does not know how it started, and simply can not find the strength to live or enjoy life. In case of PTSD, there is always a starting point, – a trauma or accident, which can lead to depression and other disorders. PTSD syndrome is a kind of the anxious disorder, the source of which, as a rule, involves the constant thoughts and memories of the past traumatic event. Depression is characterized by overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness; the symptoms can range from the simple sadness and melancholy to suicidal thoughts.

Based on results of the research conducted, it was found, that at least half of all individuals diagnosed with post-traumatic syndrome also suffers from the depression. The analysis allowed the researchers to conclude that individuals of both sexes, diagnosed with the PTSD syndrome, suffered from depression as well.

The data obtained are to some extent contradictory, since women tend to be more prone to the depressive symptoms and have a higher level of depression, connected with the post-traumatic syndrome. Also, it is assumed that women are more likely to effectively struggle with both disorders.

Treatment of PTSD and depression

As for the reactive and exhaustive depression, there are various psychotherapeutic and social means, which are used mainly to resolve the traumatic situation, as well as simple antidepressants and sedatives, selected in accordance with characteristics of patient’s personality.