After a traumatic event, many people feel disconnected and troubled. When a depressive episode results from trauma, you can seek cognitive and behavioral therapies to learn to cope.
Signs of Major Depression
Depression is common after trauma, including a serious injury from a car accident or natural disaster, as well as the psychological effects of rape or abuse. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), people with major depressive disorder will see problems in all aspects of their life.
The disease disrupts a person’s work and sleep habits, as well as her appetite and social interactions. People may only have one episode in a lifetime or, as is more common, the disease may recur during a lifetime.
In addition to affecting sleep, work and appetite, patients may suffer additional symptoms, such as the following examples:
- Consistent sadness or anxiety that lasts for more than two weeks
- Hopelessness or pessimism
- Restlessness and irritability
- Lower energy levels, fatigue
- Feeling guilty, worthless or helpless
- Lacking interest in enjoyable activities
- Pain, such as headaches or digestive problems, that does not end with treatment
- Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
If you suffer from any of these problems, get help today to see if you have depression.
Treating Trauma and Depression
Researchers at NIMH note that a traumatic event can have a lasting impact, especially on people who previously experienced trauma, who live with ongoing stress or lack supportive friends and family. People who are heavily impacted by trauma are more likely to develop depression and need additional help from a healthcare professional.
One of the most effective treatments for trauma is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—a type of talk therapy that teaches patients to identify self-defeating thoughts and how to maintain positive ones. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recommends CBT for people who struggle with unhappiness after trauma. Depressed individuals may also benefit from medications that treat the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and depression.
People who deal with a depressive disorder may find relief from a regular routine for eating and sleeping. It also is important to find ways to socialize with friends and families, and to maintain a healthy lifestyle with exercise and diet.