The Connection between PTSD and Mood Disorders

Find Out How PTSD and Mood Disorders Affect Each Other

You probably know that mood disorders such as major depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder (also called SAD) are generally very common. But it may surprise you to learn that they're much more common in certain groups of people--including those with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In fact, PTSD and mood disorders often occur together. When this happens, the mood disorder may be more severe in the person with PTSD and lead to unhealthy behaviors such as substance abuse.

It's important for you to understand 1) the connection between PTSD and mood disorders and 2) the relationship between PTSD and the problems that mood disorders can cause, such as sleep disturbances and suicidal thoughts. Learn more in the articles listed below.

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This article presents an overview of the symptoms of major depression according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - 5th edition (DSM-5). In addition, the number of symptoms required for a diagnosis of major depression is provided.


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Bipolar disorder used to be called manic depression. There are two types of bipolar disorders--bipolar I disorder and bipolar II disorder--which differ from each other in the way manic symptoms and depression are experienced. This article presents an overview of both and describes the requirements for a diagnosis of one or the other.


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Of all the mood disorders, major depression is the one that most commonly occurs among people with PTSD. In fact, studies have found that almost half of people who've had PTSD have also experienced depression. This article presents some basic information on depression and discusses ways that PTSD and depression may be connected.


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Studies have found that between 11% to 39% of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder also meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Unfortunately, people who have both disorders are more likely than people with only one to experience more serious bipolar-disorder problems. This article reviews some of these more severe bipolar problems and explains how to get help if you have both disorders.


PTSD and Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Seasonal affective disorder (also called SAD) is not talked about as often as other mood disorders. For example, no studies have examined the frequency with which seasonal affective disorder occurs in people with PTSD. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep an eye out for symptoms of seasonal affective disorder if you have PTSD, since mood disorders and PTSD often occur together. 

This article presents some information on seasonal affective disorder as well as guidelines for what you can do if you think you have it.

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Thoughts of suicide are a common symptom of both PTSD and mood disorders. Learn more here about the connection between living through a traumatic event and suicide. You'll also find information about where you can turn for help if you're having suicidal thoughts.


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Many people with PTSD have problems sleeping whether they also have a mood disorder or not. Do you have PTSD, a mood disorder, and trouble sleeping--such as difficulty falling asleep, or sleeping too much? If so, chances are your sleep problems are more severe than if you didn't have the mood disorder.

Learn about different types of sleep problems and what may cause them in this article. The negative effects of getting too little sleep are also discussed.


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