June 5, 2013
Over Half Of All PTSD Patients Also Suffer From Depression
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports — Your Universe Online
More than half of all individuals diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also suffer from symptoms of depression, researchers from the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) Department of Psychological Sciences claim in a recently published study.The authors of the study, which appears in the online edition of The Journal of Traumatic Stress, analyzed 57 peer-reviewed studies representing data on over 6,600 individuals (a combination of civilians and military soldiers) suffering from PTSD.
They found that 52 percent of the PTSD cases also reported symptoms of major depression disorder (MDD). Prior to this study, which the researchers claim is the first comprehensive analysis of peer-reviewed literature on people with PTSD and MDD, the estimates of individuals suffering from both ailments ranged from 20 to 80 percent.
“If individuals do not get a comprehensive assessment of what´s bothering them, one or the other can be missed,” lead investigator Nina Rytwinski, a postdoctoral fellow with the CWRU PTSD research and treatment program, said in a statement. “This high co-occurrence rate accentuates the importance of routinely assessing for both disorders.”
Their findings could also lead to improved methods for treating men with PTSD, Rytwinski explained. While health care providers typically identify the signs of depression in women on a frequent basis, when those same signs are observed in men they are often misdiagnosed as resulting from PTSD. This tendency puts men “at risk for under diagnosis and under treatment of a major depressive disorder,” she noted.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops as a result of a traumatic incident, and is typically accompanied by flashbacks or persistent re-experiencing of that event. MDD, on the other hand, is characterized by a deep and overwhelming sense of sadness and hopelessness, with symptoms ranging from feeling slightly down in the dumps to battling thoughts of suicide, the researchers said.
“Researchers narrowed about 1,500 studies on PTSD and MDD to the 57 published peer-reviewed studies. They focused on research about individuals who had experienced some physical or sexual assault trauma,” the university said. “By recognizing how frequently people experience both disorders, clinicians may better address barriers to completing therapy, personalized treatment and overall care, the researchers report.”
Other authors of the study include Dr. Norah Feeny of the CWRU Department of Psychological Sciences, Michael D. Scur of the CWRU School of Medicine´s Department of Psychiatry, and Dr. Eric A. Youngstrom of the University of North Carolina´s Department of Psychology.