09 January 2013

Coffee Lowers Risk of Depression While Diet Drinks Increase Risk

Research suggests that drinking coffee can lower the risk of depression by 10% while sweetened drinks specially diet sodas can increase it.

Depression is the overall feeling of sadness, unhappiness, or just being miserable. Aside from the emotional change, depression also causes people to lose interest in their favorite activities, change their eating behavior (either loss of appetite or overeating), and have trouble concentrating. In some cases, the person can be harmful to himself or herself and may need counselling.

Most people feel this way at one time or another for short periods, especially during stressful or emotional events. This type of depression is not classified as a psychiatric disorder but more of a normal reaction to a life changing event. It can also be a symptom of a medical condition or a side effect from taking certain medications.

Clinical depression or Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is different as it is classified as a mood disorder. The person also experiences the same symptoms of normal depression but lasts longer than a few days and interferes with the daily life of the person. Clinical depression requires a minimum of two weeks in this state for diagnosis but it may last for weeks and even months.

Aside from the feeling of sadness, this type of depression may bring out suicidal tendencies, anger, mood swings, and irrational behavior.

The exact cause of clinical depression is unknown but doctors believe it is linked to chemical changes in the brain triggered by stress, medication, or both. There are cases that doctors believed to be hereditary in nature.

Treatments for clinical depression range from medication (antidepressants), psychotherapy and even Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Coffee, Sodas, and Risk of Depression

New research suggests that drinking sweetened beverages, especially diet drinks, is associated with an increased risk of depression in adults while drinking coffee was tied to a slightly lower risk. The study was released today and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013.

"Sweetened beverages, coffee and tea are commonly consumed worldwide and have important physical—and may have important mental—health consequences," said study author Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, with the National Institutes of Health in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

Video: Clinical depression

The study involved 263,925 people between the ages of 50 and 71 at enrollment. From 1995 to 1996, consumption of drinks such as soda, tea, fruit punch and coffee was evaluated. About 10 years later, researchers asked the participants whether they had been diagnosed with depression since the year 2000. A total of 11,311 depression diagnoses were made.

People who drank more than four cans or cups per day of soda were 30 percent more likely to develop depression than those who drank no soda. Those who drank four cans of fruit punch per day were about 38 percent more likely to develop depression than those who did not drink sweetened drinks. People who drank four cups of coffee per day were about 10 percent less likely to develop depression than those who drank no coffee. The risk appeared to be greater for people who drank diet than regular soda, diet than regular fruit punches and for diet than regular iced tea.

"Our research suggests that cutting out or down on sweetened diet drinks or replacing them with unsweetened coffee may naturally help lower your depression risk," said Chen. "More research is needed to confirm these findings, and people with depression should continue to take depression medications prescribed by their doctors."


American Academy of Neurology
National Institutes of Health
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