Everyone feels sadness now and then; it is a very normal part of life. However, when a person’s mood and emotions are continuously preventing them from carrying out even the smallest of daily activities, they may be suffering from depression or potentially have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Depression is not something a person can just snap out of. It is a mental health condition that can be treated with therapy and if needed, medication. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can happen to someone after experiencing or witnessing a disturbing event, like war or accidents.
Depression and PTSD share some symptoms. Both depression and PTSD can affect an individual’s mood, interests, energy levels, and emotions. With either one, a person might have trouble sleeping, become angry easily, or lose interest in people or things. Sometimes, they can have both conditions. Yet, they are caused by different things.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), also known as depression, is a chronic mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It is more intense and lasts longer than just a day of sadness or “the blues.” MDD is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States; in the year 2015, nearly 7% of Americans above the age of 18 experienced an episode of MDD.
Some people with MDD never seek treatment. However, most people with the diagnosis of MDD can improve with treatment. Psychotherapy, medications, and other methods can effectively treat people with MDD and help them manage their symptoms.
There are several symptoms associated with MDD. These symptoms include:
- Feelings of sadness or irritability nearly every day or most days
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions
- Change in sleeping patterns
- Lack of energy or being lethargic
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- Loss of interest in most activities once enjoyed
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Change in appetite
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
According to the American Psychiatric Association, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. PTSD is considered a stressor-related disorder. Depression, on the other hand, is considered a mood disorder. From this perspective, PTSD and depression are different, even if they do have some overlapping symptoms.
Though PTSD is often believed to occur at higher rates among military personnel than the general population, it can develop in anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Some of the most common events that result in PTSD are serious accidents, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, armed robberies, war/combat, and assault. Anyone who experiences trauma is very much at risk of developing PTSD.
There are many different symptoms someone with PTSD may experience. In order for someone to be diagnosed with PTSD, they do not have to experience all of the symptoms listed. Symptoms include:
- Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
- Flashbacks or nightmares
- Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds the person of the traumatic event
- Avoiding places, activities, or people which remind the person of the traumatic event
- Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Easily startled or frightened
- Trouble sleeping
- Negative thoughts about oneself, other people, or the world
- Feelings of hopelessness, detachment, sadness, anger, guilt, shame, or irritability
- Difficulty concentrating and memory problems
- Difficulty maintaining or creating close relationships
- Aggressive and/or reckless behaviors
Many people believe there may be genetic predispositions making some individuals more vulnerable to developing symptoms of PTSD than others. Research proves that context and environment are key factors. For example, someone who has experienced childhood trauma may re-experience the trauma in their minds over and over again. They may also avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma in an effort to prevent future experiences, in turn, they become hyper-vigilant in looking for warning signs that something bad is going to happen again.
PTSD can happen to anyone at any time and currently affects roughly 3.5% of the people in the United States. It is estimated that nearly 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, with women being twice as likely as men. For people suffering from PTSD, these symptoms cause significant torment and can prohibit them from continuing to carry out their daily activities.
When any psychological diagnosis, including both PTSD and depression, is left untreated, symptoms can potentially worsen over time and lead to even more problems, such as unhealthy coping mechanisms. It is important to seek treatment as quickly as possible.
Early Intervention and Treatment is Critical
Depression and PTSD can leave lasting scars that can completely alter a person’s character and outlook on the world for the rest of their life if left untreated. Seeking treatment can completely turn someone’s life around after a traumatic event, giving them the chance to get back to their life prior to the trauma.
Accelerated Resolution Therapy® (ART) is an innovative, evidence-based therapy for both PTS and PTSD, anxiety, depression, stress, and similar mental health issues. Initially, the therapy was primarily used to help veterans suffering from PTSD. One of the major advantages is the speed at which ART is able to bring relief. Normally, only one to five sessions are needed, not months or years of expensive psychiatric treatment.
Accelerated Resolution Therapy works by reprogramming the traumatic memories that are preventing an individual from enjoying the full life they deserve. The techniques work equally well on bullying victims, combat vets, and others.
Do not let depression and PTSD continue to control your life. Contact ART International to learn more about the therapy or to find a therapist near you.
ART International Training and Research Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing access to Accelerated Resolution Therapy® for individuals suffering from trauma and other mental health diagnoses through innovative research and clinician training and education.