Few studies have examined the rates of physical disorders in those with recurrent depression. Aims To examine self-reported physical disorders in people with recurrent depression compared with a psychiatrically healthy control group.
As part of a genetic case-control association study, 1546 participants with recurrent depression and 884 controls were interviewed about lifetime ever treatment for 16 different physical health disorders.
The cases group had a significantly higher frequency of 14 physical disorders and more obesity than the control group. After controlling for age, gender, body mass index (BMI) and multiple testing, those in the cases group had significantly higher rates of gastric ulcer, rhinitis/hay fever, osteoarthritis, thyroid disease, hypertension and asthma.
People with recurrent depression show high rates of many common physical disorders. Although this can be partly explained by BMI, shared aetiological pathways such as dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis may have a role.