Risk factor for depression relapse

sad girl

Risk factors for repeated episodes of depression include previous depression, daily smoking and low mastery – a lack of control over life circumstances. This is according to new research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

Depression is a common disorder that reduces the quality of life and makes the future seem dark and unrewarding. Many times people feel out of control and victimized by their circumstances. Approximately 65% of people have repeating episodes of depression, as though they can’t quite shake it. In addition to the aforementioned risk factors, depression can also be associated with weight and dietary control, persistent pain and inattention to other health challenges.

“History of depression is a well-known clinical indicator of future depressive episodes; however, smoking and mastery are more novel prognostic factors that are not well accounted for in current clinical practice,” states Dr. Ian Colman, Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa.

To identify risk factors they looked at almost 600 adults who had suffered depression the year 2000/01. It was a mixed, representative group: 65% women, average age was 38.5, 82% in middle to high income bracket. None of these factors influenced the relapse rate. They found that immigrant status actually helped against relapse.
A sense of mastery stands out as one factor that protects against relapse in all categories. Mastery is a sense that you control your life circumstances, that you have the skills necessary to live successfully and you have the opportunity to exercise them.

“Future research should evaluate the benefits of including smoking cessation and mastery in existing clinical guidelines for the treatment of depression,” the study concludes.

Source: CMAJ, MedicalNewsToday


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