Risk Factors for Mood Disorder

Jun 15, 2013
Autoimmune Diseases and Infections Associated With Increased Risk of Subsequent Mood Disorder

Autoimmune diseases and infections appear to be risk factors for subsequent mood disorder diagnosis, according to a study by Michael E. Benros, M.D., of Aarhus University, Denmark, and colleagues.

A total of 91,637 people born in Demark between 1945 and 1996 were found to have visited a hospital for a mood disorder. Researchers found a prior hospital contact because of autoimmune disease increased the risk of a subsequent mood disorder diagnosis by 45 percent.

Any history of hospitalization for infection increased the risk of later mood disorders by 62 percent. Approximately one-third (32 percent) of the participants diagnosed as having a mood disorder had a previous hospital contact because of an infection, whereas 5 percent had a previous hospital contact because of an autoimmune disease, the study finds.

“Autoimmune disease and the number of severe infections are independent and synergistic risk factors for mood disorders, with hospital-treated infections being the most common risk factor…these associations are compatible with the hypothesis of a general immunologic response affecting the brain in subgroups of patients with mood disorders,” the study concludes.

(JAMA Psychiatry. Published online June 12, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.1111.