Depressed heart attack survivors unlikely to change behavior

November 13, 2001

Some depressed heart attack survivors are so convinced they'll never be healthy again that their belief becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. A Johns Hopkins study demonstrates that defeatist attitudes lead to unwillingness to alter unhealthy habits and that this, more than physical status, puts them at risk for early death. Results will be presented Nov. 13 at the American Heart Association's annual Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, Calif.

Researchers studied 160 men and women with an average age of 65 recovering from heart attacks. All were evaluated for depression within two to five days of their hospitalizations using standard psychiatric surveys. Four months later, the surviving patients were re-evaluated to see if they were adopting healthier behaviors as recommended by their physician.

Depression was observed in 31 patients (20 percent). Within that group, the worse the patients perceived their health to be, the higher their levels of depression, hypertension and diabetes. They also were more likely to have had a prior heart attack, high blood pressure and a higher degree of heart dysfunction after the heart attack.

"Only patients with post-heart attack depression showed a significant relationship between their perceived physical health status and adherence behavior," says David E. Bush, M.D., senior author of the study and assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. "Depressed patients think they're in poor physical health and that changing their behavior isn't going to make a difference. Efforts to change their perceptions may enhance compliance."

Post-heart attack depression is a significant clinical problem that affects 15 to 20 percent of patients, Bush says. One of his earlier studies showed that patients with even low levels of depression had increased death rates.

"Patients who are depressed die at rates four and five times higher than those who aren't, so we have to examine whether their psyche plays a role, or if they're just sicker," Bush says. "We need to look for biological markers that may associate with depression."

Other study authors were M. Brandes; J.A. Fauerbach; R.C. Ziegelstein; J.W. Lawrence; and A.G. Bryant.

Abstract #113213: "Poor Perceived Physical Health Predicts Poor Adherence to Risk Modifying Behaviors in Patients with Post-Myocardial Infarction Depression."
-end-
Links: Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center - Division of Cardiology http://www.jhbmc.jhu.edu/cardiology/cardiology.html

American Heart Association Scientific Sessions http://www.scientificsessions.org/

Media contact: Karen Blum(410)955-1534
Email: kblum@jhmi.edu

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions' news releases are available on an EMBARGOED basis on EurekAlert at http://www.eurekalert.org, and from the Office of Communications and Public Affairs' direct e-mail news release service. To enroll, call 410-955-4288 or send e-mail to bsimpkins@jhmi.edu.

On a POST-EMBARGOED basis find them at http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Related Depression Articles from Brightsurf:

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

Depression and use of marijuana among US adults
This study examined the association of depression with cannabis use among US adults and the trends for this association from 2005 to 2016.

Maternal depression increases odds of depression in offspring, study shows
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in offspring during adolescence and adulthood by 70%.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.

Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.

Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.

CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Read More: Depression News and Depression Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.