Stroke survivors often struggle with depression

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Stroke survivors face an increased risk of developing depression, a new study suggests.

National databases

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.

Read: Men suffer depression more after a stroke

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

Osler's team analysed 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.

No cause-and-effect relationship

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.

Read: Depression affects independence of stroke survivors

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 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.

Read more:

What is a stroke?

Symptoms of a stroke

Causes of a stroke

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