Depression is the most common mental health problem reported after spinal cord injury. Depression also increases the risk for early death. Research has shown certain risk factors are associated with depression. In a recent study, conducted by the Longevity After injury Project, risk factors, such as pain and substance abuse, were looked at for participants reporting symptoms of depression. It was found that women and non-white participants were more likely to report more severe depressive symptoms. Those who increased medication use for pain and sleep were also more likely to report worsening symptoms of depression.
The relationship between symptoms of depression, the amount of pain, and how pain interfered with daily activities was then explored. Pain interference can influence things like sleeping and working. It was found that when pain and pain interference increase, the more symptoms of depression are reported.
Future research will involve looking at symptoms of depression over time in persons with spinal cord injury. It will be necessary to find other factors that may increase the risk of depression.