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Vanderbilt study finds physical signs of depression common among ICU survivors
Date:4/24/2014

ient who goes to the ICU and is at risk for adverse mental health and, in particular, functional outcomes. But what people don't anticipate is someone in their 20s, 30s or 40s could go to the ICU and leave with functional disability, depression or PTSD. These problems are not really a function of old age."

One-third of the survivors who developed depression still had depressive symptoms at their one-year assessment, a statistic that Jackson said could, in part, be due to high expectations they set for rehabilitation.

"They have some arbitrary timeline set and they reach that date and they're still not better and, in some cases, not a lot better at all," he said. "Then what can happen is that depression can really worsen because they set this expectation that was really unrealistic and they feel like they have missed the goal.

"So that's a big challenge, recalibrating expectations. This is especially hard for the many high-achieving, type A, patients that we might see who leave the ICU and want to get back to work right away, want to compete in the triathlon right away. They tend to have the hardest time," he said.

Jackson said study authors gained additional perspective on their patients by doing at-home assessments following discharge.

"Home visits were the really interesting part of this," Jackson said. "What it enabled us to do was to see patients in their real-life surroundings in actual circumstances in which they were sometimes a little more willing, I think, to disclose their problems. When you see someone in a hospital, the situation is a little more sterile. When you get to know them in their homes, we felt like you really get to know them and that was often the context where they told us about their depression.

"One thing we learned was that if people don't have significant social support, they are profoundly limited in their ability to access care or improve in key areas," he added.

Vanderbilt
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Contact: Craig Boerner
craig.boerner@vanderbilt.edu
615-322-4747
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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