Lifestyle & Belief

Heart attacks increase anxiety and depression in partners, spouses


A new study said that victims of heart attacks are not the only people affected by the incident.


Paula Bronstein

A new study found that heart attacks don't just affect the victim but can cause health risks to the spouse or partner as well.

Researchers at Copenhagen University Hospital looked at data from nearly a quarter of a million people and found that depression and anxiety were significantly higher in those whose partner had a heart attack.

They also found that mental health issues in those partners who did not have a stroke were raised whether or not the other person survived, reported the Daily Mail.

The study looked at the medical records of a quarter-million people, 16,500 of which were spouses of people who died from heart attacks and another 50,000 spouses of people who died from other causes.

It also included numerous people whose partners survived heart attacks and other illnesses.

More from GlobalPostCan stress and depression shrink your brain?

When medication use was considered, those whose spouses or partners survived a heart attack were 17 percent more likely to use antidepressants.

That number increased to 50 percent if the partner died.

They also found that heart attacks tended to be worse for the mental health of the partner than other medical conditions, said ABC News.

Researchers said that the mental health of the spouse of the victim is a serious public health issue that should be addressed.

"Our study suggests that clinical attention needs to be paid to both the patient, who is suffering from the physical and mental trauma of the event, and the spouse, who has to live through the event alongside the patient," the researchers wrote, according to Fox News.

"I believe that treatment of an acute event also should include screening the spouse for possible psychological effects, and a plan should be in place for how to take care of this if, indeed, the spouse is severely affected."

The study was published in the European Heart Journal.