PTSD and depression are overlapping disorders and they may be treated in similar ways. With both conditions, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Letting either condition linger — and likely worsen — for months or even years can do harm to both your physical and mental health.
The mission of PTSD treatment is to ease symptoms, curb emotional reactions, and eliminate crippling avoidance.
The most common treatments for PTSD (depending on symptoms and prescriber preference) can include:
- Prescription medications: These include antidepressants, anti anxiety medications, and sleep aids.
- Support groups: These are meetings in which you can discuss your feelings and learn from people who share similar experiences.
- Talk therapy: This is a one-on-one type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that can help you learn to express thoughts and develop healthy responses. Behavioural activation is another form of CBT that plays a crucial role in PTSD treatment.
Like PTSD, treatment for depression focuses on easing symptoms and helping restore a positive quality of life.
The most common treatments for depression (depending on symptoms and prescriber preference) can include:
- Prescription medication. Medications include antidepressants, antipsychotic medicines, anti-anxiety medicines, and sleep aids.
- Psychotherapy. Talk therapy or Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which helps you learn how to cope with feelings and emotions that seem to worsen the symptoms of depression.
- Group or family therapy. This type of support group is for people who are chronically depressed or family members living with depressed individuals.
- Lifestyle changes. These include healthy choices, including exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep, all of which can help ease the symptoms and complications of depression.
- Light therapy. Controlled exposure to white light may help improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression.
PTSD and depression
As you can see, doctors use many of the same treatments for both PTSD and depression. This includes prescription medications, talk therapy, group therapy, and lifestyle improvements.
Healthcare providers who treat PTSD are typically also trained to treat depression.