A new study found that people with mental health conditions are more likely to develop chronic illnesses, even when young and “healthy.”
Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety take a toll on people’s lives. According to a new study, they might also make it more likely for people to develop chronic illnesses.
The study, published in JAMA Open Network, examined the effects of mental health on a variety of ages. Results concluded that even if a person is young, a mental health condition can impact their quality of life and lead to chronic conditions, which are generally associated with an older population.
Researchers analyzed a pool of 40,360 adults from Minnesota, splitting them up per gender into three age groups: people in their 20s, 40s, and 60s. These groups were then divided according to their mental health conditions into four groups: those with depression, with anxiety, anxiety, and depression, or neither anxiety nor depression.
Results showed that all women were at higher risk of developing a chronic condition. Women in their 20s with both anxiety and depression were at highest risk of all. In the case of men, those in their 20s with depression or anxiety and depression were more likely to develop a chronic condition.
Jasmin Wertz, lecturer of psychology at The University of Edinburgh, spoke to CNN and explained the meaning and importance of the results. “We tend to think of young people as vital, fit, and healthy. We also tend to think that chronic medical conditions only affect older people. Sadly, for people who experience mental illness, the reality can look quite different,” she said.
To prevent chronic illnesses when dealing with mental health illnesses, researchers recommend staying on top of your condition, and taking the necessary medication and behavioral treatments. They also suggest staying healthy by maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, eating balanced meals and working out regularly.
Women have long been more likely to get mental health diagnoses when compared to men. Researchers don’t understand why, but they believe it’s possible for there to be significant bias due to their genders. A study found that women are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression, while men were more likely to have substance abuse or antisocial disorders.