What are depression symptoms in PTSD?

Depression symptoms are common in people with PTSD. It is characterised by a depressed mood and a loss of interest or pleasure in activities. Symptoms of depression can also 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 the occurrence of depressive symptoms rather than depressive disorders in PTSD. Please see the co-occurring mental disorders topic for information on comorbid depressive disorders in people with PTSD.

What is the evidence for depression symptoms in people with PTSD?

Moderate to high quality evidence finds a medium-sized correlation between increased PTSD symptoms and increased depressive symptoms. This was found in North Korean refugees and in cancer patients. In North Korean refugees, the relationship was stronger in adults than in youths, and stronger in refugees with more than five years outside of North Korea, although the effect sizes were all medium-sized.

August 2021

Image: ©Helder Sousa –

Last updated at: 5:59 am, 7th October 2021
To view documentation related to this topic download the files below
Fact Sheet Technical Commentary
Tags:  Depression

NeuRA Libraries

Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.