As if depression weren’t a vexing enough condition already, some Canadian buzz-killing researchers have decided that it most likely also shortens your life significantly.
The report, under the fizzy title “Depression and mortality in a longitudinal study: 1952-2011” and published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (not a publication recommended for anyone seeking to lift gloom), claims that those suffering from depression may not live as long as people lucky enough to avoid the disorder.
“Meh”, you mutter, as you go back to staring out of the window and picking at the fraying sleeve of your oversized jumper.
“Everyone knows the link between depression and suicide is well established,” you scoff under your breath while rolling your eyeballs.
“As is depression’s contribution to poor health, either through causing physiological changes or leading directly to damaging behaviours, like anorexia, or drug abuse.”
*writes nihilistic message on jeans in biro*
For the first time though, the Canadian detectives have found a connection between depression and a premature end, even after factoring in all the life-span shortening tobacco products, chocolate eclairs and gin rickeys.
They studied studies of three groups of 3410 men and women of various ages in one Canadian county, who were randomly sampled for questioning about the colour of their mood in 1952, 1970 and 1992.
And the results were call-the-cops dramatic.
To quote from the report: “On average, men and women with depression had shorter life expectancies in young adulthood than their nondepressed counterparts: a difference of 10 to 12 years in the 1952 sample, 7 years in the 1970 sample (men) and 7 to 18 years in the 1992 sample.”
These are not the usual hair-splitting, piffling little micro-percentage differences that scientists traditionally serve up as evidence of their labours.
They are 18 years, people!
Not even a 60-a-day Richmond Superkings dependence or the scotch intake of a self-hating Japanese gas futures trader can typically be relied on to knock that kind of time from one’s life sentence.
If depression is capable of gouging that many years from a person’s lot, the government needs to be looking at significantly extending its health warnings to a far wider range of products than fags, drink and anything with a calorie in it.
Bank statements, most television programming, weather forecasts, cheap clothing, political party conferences, January, family gatherings – all are ripe for some pretty detailed labelling.
Of similar significance, why has this information not been front-paged, virally spread and announced on high streets from loudspeakers mounted on the front of small vans?
This is a gigantic price being paid by the depressed, and a piece of information that deserves to be in the public domain.
So please share it as enthusiastically as possible, because unhappiness may not just be an unwelcome guest, but a serial killer.