Trauma and Depression

When someone is faced with an event that is overwhelming enough to cause traumatization, they may also become vulnerable to developing a Major Depressive Disorder. Depending on a range of factors, different types of depression may result from untreated trauma, or other stressful and challenging life events. It is expected that one in four women and one in six men will be depressed at some stage of their lives. Major Depression is also known as Clinical Depression, Unipolar Depression or simply Depression. Regardless of which of these names is used, it usually involves experiencing low mood and/or a loss of interest and pleasure in previously enjoyed activities, as well as a range of other symptoms which can affect behaviour, feelings and thoughts. In Major Depression these symptoms are generally experienced on most days for at least two weeks, and interfere with all areas of life, including work and social activities.

 When the impact of trauma is severe enough to make a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) a Major Depressive Disorder may also develop. In fact, Major Depression is the most commonly co-occurring disorder for trauma survivors with PTSD. There are a number of signs that someone who has experienced trauma may be developing Depression including: extreme sadness related to irrevocable loss, persistent feelings of worthlessness and guilt, or feeling responsible for, or deserving of punishment, loss of concentration, physical and mental agitation or extreme mental and physical slowness, ongoing loss of appetite or overeating, hopelessness about possible future traumatic events, or suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Trauma is also known to be associated with psychosis as well as with depression. It has been suggested that some of the ‘psychotic’ symptoms experienced by trauma survivors with Psychotic Depression and co-occurring PTSD may actually be severe intrusive symptomatology related to post-traumatic stress: for example, repeatedly hearing voices or sounds that were encountered during traumatic events.

At the Psychology, Trauma, & Mindfulness Centre we specialize in assessing and treating different types of depression, including depression related to past trauma. To enquire further, or to make an appointment please contact us.