Depression and physical illness: is there a connection

Now we hear that a mental condition can affect physical health. And it’s not only psychosomatics. A new study shows the relationship of depression, anxiety and anxiety with the development of diseases such as arrhythmia, heart failure and stroke, and refutes the correlation of these mental disorders with cancer.

In the 17th century philosopher Rene Descartes argued that mind and body were separate entities. While this dualistic idea has shaped much of modern science recent scientific advances show that the dichotomy between mind and body is false.

For example, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio wrote a book called “Descartes Error” in order to prove that our brains, emotions and opinions interwoven much stronger than previously thought. A new study may further strengthen this fact.

Doctor of philosophy of the faculty of psychiatry at the University of California Aoif O’donovan and her colleague Andrea Niles had intended to study the influence of mental States such as depression and anxiety, on physical health. Researchers examined the health of more than 15 000 older adults for four years and published their findings in the journal of the American psychological Association “Psychology of health”.

Anxiety and depression similar to Smoking

In the process of the study examined data on the health status 418 15 pensioners at the age of 68 years. Data were obtained from a government study that used interviews to assess symptoms of anxiety and depression among the participants. They also answered questions about their weight, Smoking and diseases.

Of the total number of participants O’donovan and her colleagues found that 16% had high levels of anxiety and depression, and 31% are obese, and 14% of the participants smoked. It turned out that people with high levels of anxiety and depression were 65% more likely the occurrence of heart attack by 64% more chance of stroke by 50% – increased blood pressure and 87% for arthritis than those who did not have anxiety or depression.

“These increased chances similar to those of the participants who smoke or are obese, says O’donovan. – However, for arthritis high anxiety and depression, appears to be associated with a higher risk than Smoking and obesity.”

Cancer is not associated with anxiety and stress

Their study, the researchers also found that cancer is the only disease which does not correlate with anxiety and depression. These results confirm previous studies, but contrary to the belief, which is shared by many patients.

“Our results are consistent with many other studies showing that psychological disorders are not strong factors for many cancers,” says O’donovan. – In addition to underscore the fact that mental health is important for a number of medical ailments, it is important that we promote these null results. We need to stop attributing diagnoses cancer stories of stress, depression and anxiety”.

“Symptoms of anxiety and depression are closely associated with poor physical health, however these conditions still receives limited attention in primary health care compared to Smoking and obesity,” says Niles.

O’donovan adds that the findings underscore “the long-term costs undertreated depression and anxiety and serve as a reminder that treatment of mental health conditions can save money for health systems.”

“As far as we know, this is the first study that directly compared anxiety and depression with obesity and Smoking as potential risk factors for occurrence of disease in long-term studies,” says Niles.

Ekaterina Romanova
Source: Medical News Today

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