PTSD And Depression Comorbidity Increase Risk Of Mortality In Women

PTSD And Depression Comorbidity Increase Risk Of Mortality In Women

NewsBy Feb 18, 2023

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER and major depression comorbidity is linked to psychobiological changes in women that can lead to chronic disease and death. When these two conditions occur in tandem, a comprehensive approach to treatment must be taken to counteract their dangerous and complex emotional, psychological, and physical impact.

This article discusses:

Increased Mortality In Women With PTSD and Depression

A new study shows that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) comorbidity can lead to physiological changes that cause serious illness and mortality in women.

An estimated 50% of women with PTSD also suffer from MDD. 1 out of every 2 women with this dual diagnosis have an increased risk of mortality.

A study of over 50,000 women were was conducted over 9 years period showed that women who suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression have more than twice as likely to die from complications compared to women who had not experienced trauma or depression.

Furthermore, research suggests that the biological impact of PTSD and MDD comorbidity may represent a subtype of PTSD.

Adverse Childhood Experiences Linked To Inflammation In The Body

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are linked to an increased risk of developing PTSD in adulthood. The psychobiology of ACEs can make some adults predisposed to inflammation in the body, putting them at greater risk for certain health conditions.

PTSD Connected To Metabolic Dysfunction

PTSD is linked to physiological changes associated with metabolic dysfunction connected with the development of various diseases, specifically:

  • Changes in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal–axis
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Oxidative stress
  • Sleep disturbances, and
  • Premature aging.

Researchers theorize that an increased discharge of cortisol by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in tandem with disruptions in the sympathetic nervous system can lead to irregularities in neurological and metabolic functioning.

Health Conditions Linked To PTSD

Numerous studies have shown that PTSD is linked to a range of adverse health outcomes, including:

  • Hypertension
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Substance Use Disorders

PTSD and Depression Increase Risk of Suicide

Another health risk for women who experience PTSD and MDD is suicide. A 2009 study from Florida State University showed that women who experience both disorders are at greater risk for suicidal ideation and death by suicide.

Prevention Of Health Risks Associated With PTSD and Depression

It is imperative that women with PTSD and depression implement lifestyle changes to decrease the risk of mortality associated with their condition. Some effective actions include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Weight management
  • Smoking abstinence
  • Companionship


1 out of ever 2 women who suffer from cooccurring PTSD and MDD can experience psychobiological changes that cause 380% increase of death. Adverse childhood experiences can lead to inflammation in the body, which makes some people predisposed to illness and disease later in life. PTSD can cause metabolic dysfunction and systemic changes that lead to serious health conditions. Lifestyle changes are an important part of treatment.


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Manya Wakefield is a recovery coach specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy and coercive trauma. Her expertise has been featured in publications such as Newsweek, Elle, Cosmopolitan, and Huffington Post. In 2019, she launched the social impact platform Narcissistic Abuse Rehab, building a global audience through human rights advocacy. The same year, she published the book ‘Are You In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship,’ which is used in domestic violence recovery groups around the world. In 2020, Manya developed The Coercive Control Legislation Global Database. She is also the host of The Narcissistic Abuse Rehab Podcast, which is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon.