Depressive disorders

What are depressive disorders in PTSD?

Depression is characterised by a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in activities. Symptoms of depression may include changes in appetite, weight, sleep, or psychomotor activity, decreased energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide. Depression may also be associated with increased hopelessness, which is the absence of positive future orientation. This topic concentrates on depressive disorders in PTSD. Please also see the topic on depressive symptoms under signs and symptoms of PTSD.

What is the evidence for the relationship between depressive disorders and PTSD?

Moderate to high quality evidence finds around 52% of people with PTSD also have a major depressive disorder. Military samples had higher rates of major depressive disorder than civilian samples, and people exposed to interpersonal traumas had higher rates of major depressive disorder than people exposed to natural disasters.

Moderate to low quality evidence finds a medium-sized effect of increased depressive disorders in prisoners with PTSD compared to prisoners without PTSD. Rates were highest in males and in adult prisoners, and in prisoners with any lifetime rather than a current diagnosis of PTSD.

August 2021

Image: ©Helder Sousa –

Last updated at: 5:48 am, 26th August 2021
To view documentation related to this topic download the files below
Fact Sheet Technical Commentary
Tags:  Depression

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