According to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, elderly males suffering from depression are two times more likely to be admitted to a hospital’s emergency room. This information may help to identify the men who are at risk, which could provide scientists with a way to prevent these admissions in the future.

“Men with depression had a twofold increase in the mean number of hospital admissions, and these lasted on average twice as long as for men without depression,” writes Dr. Matthew Prina, Institute of Public Health, Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, with coauthors.

The authors of the study have suggested that there may be many reasons behind the high admission rates. They also believe that depressed patients who are not being treated for their conditions may be more likely to arrive at the emergency room because of acute illnesses, which the depression worsens. Some of the treatments that are provided to patients include a variety of antidepressants like Paxil. Paxil has been linked to various side effects including violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior. The pills have also been linked to babies being born with birth defects, including PPHN, oral clefts, spina bifida and neural tube defects, when the mothers take the pills while pregnant.

The authors of this new study have said that, “Even after adjustment for a robust measure of comorbidity… depression was a strong independent risk factor for hospital admission, longer hospital stays and worse hospital outcomes. This suggests that the association between depression and comorbidity, disability and hospital admission is complex and cannot be attributed solely to age, prevalent clinical morbidity, social support, education or smoking.”

This link between untreated depression and acute illness and emergency admissions may seem insignificant at first glance, but it does show that the mental disorder can worsen pre-existing conditions. However, with antidepressants being the most-commonly-prescribed treatment for the condition, patients don’t seem to be any better off either way.