Risk Factors

Coexistence with Illnesses & Other Conditions

Unfortunately, depression can be misdiagnosed, under treated, misunderstood and overshadowed by medical complexities. Illnesses, especially in women, often co-exist with depression. They may precede or follow depression, or even be identified as the cause or consequence.48 Depression often coexists with medical conditions such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis; often worsening symptoms of the illness.50 Studies have indicated those suffering from depression in addition to serious medical conditions exhibit increased symptoms from each illness.51 Adapting to medical conditions becomes a greater challenge for those suffering from depression; proper treatment for depression and coexisting medical condition(s) can alleviate burdens associated from each.51

Especially among women, depression has been diagnosed in those with eating disorders, bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) and anxiety disorders often coexist with depression.52 Women are more prone to depression after encountering a PTSD, and Kessler and colleagues53 report more women than men experience these coexisting disorders.