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Depression and Other Illnesses

Depression and alcohol useThere are many health conditions that are often experienced by individuals who have depression. These include:

  • Alcohol and drug use disorders
  • Mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders
  • Medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
  • Chronic pain

Depression negatively affects prognosis and recovery from these conditions.  Research suggests that in some instances these conditions may cause depression and in other instances they may be a consequence of depression.

Most importantly for employers — a large portion of the disability and health care costs of depression are due to treating these other conditions, not directly from treating depression. Therefore, it is important that people receive appropriate treatment for all their health conditions, mental and physical.  Treating depression can improve the prognosis and reduce the long-term costs of treating physical health conditions.

Direct and indirect annual cost Proportion of employees with a mood disorder

Kessler et al. Prevalence and effects of mood disorders on work performance in a nationally representative sample of US workers. Am J Psychiatry 2. 6; 163:1561-1568.