Disaster and trauma studies often focus on identifying the incidence of PTSD as the sequel to traumatic events.
Early interventions with those affected after a disaster or traumatic event increasingly utilize psycho-education to clarify and normalize common post-traumatic stress reactions and coping strategies.
While mentioned as a possible response, the high incidence of depression after trauma is less delineated and often goes unrecognized by those suffering.
Depression Occurs after Trauma:
- A Rand corporation study reports that nearly 20 percent of military service members who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan – 300,000 in all – report symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or major depression.
- In the first long-term study of the health impacts of the World Trade Center (WTC) collapse on September 11, 2001, findings indicate that seven percent of police officers were diagnosed with depression, nine percent with PTSD and eight percent with panic disorder. Twenty eight percent of other rescue and recovery workers had symptoms of depression.
- A survey of survivors from the Oklahoma City bombing showed that 23% had depression after the bombing.
- Depression affects approximately 15 percent to 25 percent of cancer patients.
- After a myocardial infarction, the incidence of major depression is from 15 percent to 20 percent, and an additional 27 percent of patients develop minor depression.
Both major depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occur frequently following traumatic exposure, both as separate disorders and concurrently.
Depression is the most common disorder suffered in conjunction with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Depression is nearly three to five times more likely in those with PTSD than those without PTSD.