Trott left Australia due to a "stress-related illness" after the opening Test defeat in Brisbane, where he made just 19 runs in both innings.
"I feel a little bit conned we were told Jonathan Trott’s problems in Australia were a stress-related illness he had suffered for years," Vaughan wrote in the Telegraph.
"We were allowed to believe he was struggling with a serious mental health issue and treated him with sensitivity and sympathy. He was obviously not in a great place but he was struggling for cricketing reasons and not mental, and there is a massive difference. There is a danger we are starting to use stress-related illness and depression too quickly as tags for players under pressure.
"He completely disrespected anybody who has gone through depression and mental illness by using words such as 'nutcase' or 'crazy'. We have all said things we regret in the media but I find it staggering he is so ill-informed that he used those words.
"I have friends who have been diagnosed with depression. They are not nutcases or crazy. They have picked up an illness that is invisible to others but can be debilitating. We have seen other England cricketers suffer from depression and I do not think Trott realises just how important an issue it is."
Vaughan added Trott's decision to withdraw from the series will gift opponents psychological ammunition, should he return to the Test team.
"What Trott will have to accept is that players in his own dressing room and in the opposition will look at him and think at the toughest of times he did a runner. He did not fight and got on a plane and went home. It is harsh but that is the reality."