Depression 'linked to higher risk of early death in women and men'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

Men and women with depression are more likely to die prematurely, according to a new study from the University of Ottawa.

Researchers analysed data from the 60-year Stirling County Study, which has collated mental health data on 3,410 adults spanning three periods - 1952-1967, 1968-1990 and 1991-2011.

“Depression has been strongly linked to a higher long-term risk of early death for both women and men in a new study.“

Although the stigmatisation associated with depression has declined in recent years, with better treatments now available, the link between depression and mortality was shown to have persisted over time.

The risk of death associated with depression appeared strongest in the years following a depressive episode, indicating that physicians should monitor instances of mood disturbances to offer treatment and support as needed.

It was also observed that the association between depression and premature death was once limited to men, but now affects women as well, with a 50 percent increase in the risk of death for women with depression between 1992 and 2011.

Dr Ian Colman, Canada research chair at the University of Ottawa's school of epidemiology, said: "During the last 20 years of the study, in which women's risk of death increased significantly, roles have changed dramatically both at home and in the workplace, and many women shoulder multiple responsibilities and expectations."

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