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Conditions Related to Depression

The World Health Organization reports that depression is a major cause of illness and disability worldwide. Depression is related to or co-exists with many other mental conditions. A diagnosis of depression increases the risk of another mood disorder such as anxiety. This is called a comorbidity.

Depression is also linked with bipolar disorder, ADHD, OCD, postpartum depression, dysthymia which is persistent depressive disorder, and sleep disorders. A person with a dual diagnosis is someone who has a mental disorder and an alcohol or drug problem, or another mental disorder like anxiety.

Depression also has been linked to many serious physical health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Cardiovascular Disease

Studies have shown a strong link between heart disease and depression. Depression can increase the risk of heart disease and vice versa. It’s also common for people to experience depression after a heart attack or surgery. Depression doubles the risk of death after heart attack or angina.

Biologically, depression is associated with changes in the body such as increased inflammation and changes in blood clotting, which can increase the risk of heart disease. Depression can also increase the level of stress hormones like cortisol, which can affect heart rate and blood pressure, potentially leading to heart disease.

Stroke

Depression increases the risk of stroke. It is also common after a stroke, affecting 30- 60% of stroke survivors likely due to physical changes and decline in quality of life.

Diabetes

Depression is about twice as common in people with diabetes compared with those without it. It affects about 10% of patients with Type 2 diabetes (T2DM).  People with T2DM and depression have an increased risk of all cause and non – cardiovascular and mortality. Managing diabetes can be stressful, leading to feelings of depression. Additionally, depression can make it harder for people to manage their diabetes.

Cancer

People diagnosed with cancer may experience depression due to the emotional toll of cancer, the pain and physical changes, and the financial stress and fear associated with their diagnosis and treatment. The rate of depression in people with cancer is estimated to be around 25%.

Chronic Pain Syndromes

Chronic pain, as a stress state, is one of the critical factors for determining depression, and their coexistence tends to further aggravate the severity of both disorders. Conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, and migraines have been linked to depression. Accumulating evidence suggests than neuroinflammation plays a critical role in the development of both depression and chronic pain.

Parkinson’s Disease

This neurodegenerative disorder can cause depression, perhaps due to the changes it causes in brain chemistry and likely the fear and poor quality of life. As many as 50% of people with Parkinson’s may experience depression.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Depression is one of the most common symptoms of MS, likely because it causes physical pain, and it affects quality of life.

Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Depression is common in Alzheimer’s patients. It may occur as a psychological response to the challenges of the disease or may result from the neurological changes associated with it.

Thyroid Conditions

Both hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) have been linked to depression.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

The chronic breathlessness, fatigue, and limitation in daily activities can contribute to depression in people with COPD.

Autoimmune Diseases

Conditions like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease can all have depression as a comorbidity, potentially due to the chronic inflammation and immune response dysregulation.

Eating Disorders

Depression and eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder, often co-occur. Eating disorders can lead to depression, and depression can cause eating disorders.

Depression can exacerbate the symptoms of these physical conditions and make them harder to treat. When you or a loved one suffers with mood symptoms, contact Greenwich Village Psychiatry to get the right diagnosis so that you ensure you are receiving the best treatments that can provide relief.


References

  • Feng Z, Tong WK, et al.Prevalence of depression and association with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality among individuals with type 2 diabetes: a cohort study based on NHANES 2005-2018 data. BMC Psychiatry. 2023 Jul 10;23(1):490. doi: 10.1186/s12888-023-04999-z. PMID: 37430235; PMCID: PMC10331954.
  • https://www.acc.org/about-acc/press-releases/2017/03/08/12/21/depression-doubles-risk-of-death-after-heart-attack
  • angina#:~:text=Depression%20is%20the%20strongest%20predictor,66th%20Annual%20Scientific%20Session.
  • https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.122.028332
  • https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/strokeaha.111.630871#:~:text=Our%20updated%20meta%2Danalysis%20of,development%20of%20stroke%20after%20adjustment
  • Jiyao Sheng, Shui Liu, et al, “The Link between Depression and Chronic Pain: Neural Mechanisms in the Brain”, Neural Plasticity, vol. 2017, Article ID 9724371, 10 pages, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/9724371
  • O’Donnell M, Xavier D,et al; INTERSTROKE investigators. Rationale and design of INTERSTROKE: a global case-control study of risk factors for stroke. Neuroepidemiology. 2010;35(1):36-44. doi: 10.1159/000306058. Epub 2010 Apr 8. PMID: 20389123.
  • Kostadinova, E., & Anita, A. (2017). Influence of depression on the quality of life after stroke. European Psychiatry, 41(S1), S475-S475. doi:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2017.01.551
  • Sheng J, Liu S, et al. The Link between Depression and Chronic Pain: Neural Mechanisms in the Brain. Neural Plast. 2017;2017:9724371. doi: 10.1155/2017/9724371. Epub 2017 Jun 19. PMID: 28706741; PMCID: PMC5494581. 
At a Glance

Dr. Paul Poulakos

  • Attending Psychiatrist at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center
  • Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Past Clinical Assistant Professor of NYU Langone Medical Center
  • Learn more