Study Says That Depression And Anxiety Are Akin To Smoking

Extensive research points out that mental health conditions such as anxiety, stress, and depression are closely linked to poor physical health. In fact, several neuroscientists insist that the mind, body, and emotions are way more intricately connected that what we have previously thought.

Building on this, a recent study has dug into the physical health effects of psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression. It finds out that both these mental concerns are almost as bad for your health as obesity and depression.

Here is more on what this study learned as it uncovered the association between mental health issues and their impact on our physical health:

The Participant Pool of the Study

The study was conducted by Aoife O’Donovan, Ph.D., of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco along with her colleague Andrea Niles, Ph.D. The central aim of the study was to find out how depression and anxiety affected the physical health.

The findings of these study were published in the journal of the American Psychological Association in Health Psychology. The study gathered data from a participant pool of 15,418 retirees. These participants were 68 years of age on average. Their health data was attained from a study conducted by the government to learn the symptoms of depression and anxiety among participants.

All the information related to a person’s smoking status, weight, and diagnosed medical condition(s) were also derived. Of these participants, 16% had high levels of depression and anxiety, 31% of the participants were obese, and 14% of the individuals were smokers.

Findings of the Study

Analysis of all the data gathered made the following conclusion:

  • 65% of the participants with high levels of depression and anxiety were at an increased risk of developing a heart condition
  • 50% of these people were at increased odds of having high blood pressure
  • 64% had an amped up likelihood of developing a stroke
  • 87% of the participants were likely to have arthritis

All these findings were in the case of people with high levels of the psychiatric disorders and were in contrast with people who did not suffer from depression and anxiety. Moreover, the researchers noted that the increased risk of poor physical health among the participants were similar to those who were obese or smokers.

In the case of arthritis though, the scientists noted that depression and anxiety added to more risk of poor health than obesity and smoking. The study also learned that the mental disorders do not correspond with cancer. This conclusion is in alignment with what previous studies say about there being no association between cancer and depression.

Concluding Thoughts

In a nutshell, this study confirms that depression and anxiety have severe effects on our physical health. Moving forward though, it is essential to look after your mental wellbeing. This means that you should not let stress or anxiety develop. Talk to people who you trust and if you feel that your stress doesn’t abate, then it is best to get in touch with a specialist who can help.