Intrusive Traumatic Recollections and Comorbid Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Depressed Patients

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Recent studies have found evidence of the presence and role of intrusive traumatic memories in depressed patients. In this study, we attempted to replicate these findings, examining the full range of early and later traumatic events, as well as comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder, in male and female depressed patients.


Sixty-nine outpatients meeting criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, for major depressive episode were recruited from the outpatient department of an academic hospital.


Seventy-five percent of the depressed patients were found to have had one or more early and/or more recent traumatic experiences. The symptom category of reexperiencing was diagnosed in 48% of these trauma-exposed respondents. Comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder was diagnosed in 13% of the total sample.


The findings show that depressed patients are highly likely to have experienced traumatic events and intrusive traumatic recollections. Future research should focus on the direction of any causal relationship between trauma, reexperiencing, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression.

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