By Staff Writer
Women who suffer from depression often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their problems. However, a new study from Harvard University researchers has found that failure to seek substance abuse help for their emotional problems may increase the risk of death from heart disease, particularly when they also have diabetes.
Depression, diabetes and heart disease have all been shown to share common risk factors. In particular, depression is known to increase the risk of the other two conditions. Researchers said that understanding this link may help scientists develop more effective treatments in the future.
For the study, researchers followed nearly 80,000 women. Surveys assessed whether they had depression or diabetes. After following the women for six years, the investigators found that those with depression were 44 percent more likely to die from heart disease, those with diabetes were 35 percent more likely to die and women with both conditions had roughly double the risk of either group.
The researchers said that they were unable to determine precisely the cause of the diabetes-depression link, but they suggested that seeking treatment for depression may help prevent metabolic conditions from worsening.