Avoiding the Spiral of Depression for those Aging with SCI

Ivan Molton, our lead researcher for the Healthy Aging RRTC, recently spoke at the North American Spine Society's Annual Meeting on, Psychological Factors Associated with Spinal Disease in the Elderly. After a new spinal cord injury or disease, some people experience depression while others do not.  This difference is very important, because serious depression is associated with less function after spine problems.  Researchers want to know what things can promote a good adjustment to a spine injury.  Dr. Molton reviewed some studies showing that individuals who become depressed may fall into a cycle of physical pain, less activity, and more social withdrawal.  He talked about ways to prevent this spiral, including staying active and taking a direct role in pain management.  He also reviewed some studies showing that certain personality traits (like optimism, resilience and “fighting spirit”) might help individuals adjust better to their new level of function.

Are you or someone you care about concerned about depression? Check out these factsheets: