Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Veterans With Depression Die Earlier Than Nondepressed Vets

Compared with nondepressed patients, patients with depression treated in the Department of Veterans Affairs health system died younger (71.1 versus 75.9) and had more years of potential life lost (13.4 versus 10.2) as a result of both natural and unnatural causes., according to a report in the August Psychiatric Services. Depending on the cause of death, depressed patients died between 2.5 and 8.7 years earlier and had 1.5 to 6.1 years of potential life lost compared with nondepressed patients, according to data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Death Index. The data were used to calculate mean age of death and years of potential life lost associated with 13 causes of death among veterans with and without depression.

Lead author Kara Ziven, Ph.D., and colleagues say these findings have important implications for clinical practice, in that they suggest that improved quality of care may be needed to reduce early mortality among VA patients with depression.

The study, “Early Mortality and Years of Potential Life Lost Among Veteran Affairs Patients With Depression,” can be found
here. For more information about veterans’ mental health see Psychiatric News here and here.

 (Image: ariadna de raadt/


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