It is already known that people with mental disorders are more likely to have antiaging disorders. But it now appears that this can also cause them to age faster.
A study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that people who experience mental disorders at a young age may experience poor physical health and risk accelerated aging as they reach adulthood.
5.3 years worker
Study participants who had suffered from a broad range of mental disorders in adulthood age biologically faster by a factor of about 5.3 years between the ages of 26 and 45, compared to the healthy participants. Disorders of the first group varied from anxiety and depression to substance abuse and schizophrenia.
Additionally, they also had more problems with hearing, vision, balance, motor skills, and perception. Independent observers who viewed photos of the participants in this group – without knowing anything about them – estimated that they were older than they actually were, on average.
The researchers also looked at typical factors that could accelerate aging, such as gender, body mass index, smoking, childhood health, abuse, and socioeconomic status. But the study authors suggest, “There is something else indicating that there may be some kind of basic biological process going on.”
Aging is faster at an early age
“Normally, these age-related chronic diseases don’t start until later in life,” explains lead author Jasmin Wertz of Duke University in North Carolina. When we think of aging, we think of the elderly, people who are in their late 50s, mid 60s or even older. Old age is not measured even before people reach this age.
“What we see here, however, is that when you measure these results, you can see that people who have experienced mental health issues are actually showing faster aging at a relatively young age,” Wertz adds.
According to her, there are several possible causes behind the mental disorders that lead to faster aging. For example, people with mental health issues tend to exercise less and often have poor eating habits – things linked to getting older faster. According to researchers, people with mental health issues often find it more difficult to find the necessary care.