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Stroke Survivors Often Struggle With Depression

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Sep 7th 2016

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 7, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Stroke survivors face an increased risk of developing depression, a new study suggests.

In the first three months after having a stroke, survivors' risk of depression was eight times higher than among people with no history of stroke, the Danish study found.

"Depression is common in patients with stroke during the first year after diagnosis, and those with prior depression or severe stroke are especially at risk," wrote the study authors, led by Dr. Merete Osler of Copenhagen University.

"Because a large number of deaths can be attributable to depression after stroke, clinicians should be aware of this risk," the authors concluded.

Osler's team analyzed national databases in Denmark to compare depression risk among stroke survivors and people with no history of stroke (the "control" group).

More than 25 percent of stroke survivors were diagnosed with depression within two years after stroke, and more than half those cases of depression appeared in the first three months after stroke, the findings showed.

In the control group, only 8 percent were diagnosed with depression within two years of entering the study, and only one-quarter of those cases occurred within three months.

In both groups, depression was associated with increased risk of death from all causes, though the study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

The findings were published online Sept. 7 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

More than 10 million people worldwide had a stroke in 2013, and there are more than 30 million stroke survivors worldwide, the study authors noted in a journal news release.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on stroke.