Caring Currents

The Link Between Depression and Heart Disease

Last updated:

March 11, 2008

ScienceDaily offers a sneak peek at the findings of a new study by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine. The results, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Affective Disorders, show that a person's risk of dying after a heart attack is up to four-fold greater if he's depressed—and this increased risk lingers for at least five years.This report is one of many studies that link depression and heart disease. With all the mounting evidence, it's probably well worth having your parent's depression evaluated and treated. Of course, that's much easier said than done. Here are a couple of ways you might approach it:

  • Talk to your parent's doctor about your concerns. Be prepared to describe the signs of depression you've noticed in your parent.
  • Instead of pushing your parent to see a psychiatrist or psychologist, suggest a check-up with his primary care doctor. Your parent may be less resistant to this idea, and he may be more willing to listen to a doctor who urges him to get help.

Remember, though, that it's not up to you. You can offer support and encouragement until you're blue in the face, but your parent is ultimately responsible for his own happiness—even if his depression is breaking your heart, too.