Depression Linked to Higher Risk of Early Death
A long-term study conducted in Canada between 1952 and 2011 suggests there’s a strong link between depression and an increased risk for early death in both men and women, despite improvements in mental health awareness. Results of this study, which were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, show that this association has recently increased, especially in women.
For the study, a team of researchers examined 60 years of mental health data involving 3,410 adults from the Stirling County Study, one of the first internationally-known, community-based studies on mental illness. They discovered that while the link between depression and an increased risk of death in men existed during each decade of the study, this link in women began in the 1990s.
Overall, the risk of death linked to depression is strongest in the years following a depressive episode. This finding led researchers to speculate that the risk could be reduced by achieving depression remission. According to researchers, depression is also associated with poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and increased alcohol consumption, which can lead to chronic health problems, but these factors do not explain the increased death risk in this study.