Published February 5, 2015 in the British Journal of Psychiatry, a new study shows that anxiety increases the rate of aging
that treating anxiety helps reverse the aging process!
Looking at over 2,300 patients with anxiety disorders and matched controls, researchers found that those with active anxiety had shorter telomere length than both those with no history of anxiety disorders and those with adequately treated anxiety disorders.
Shorter telomere length is a known marker of aging, and the fact that telomere shortening can be reversed when an anxiety disorder is treated is awesome news.
Telomeres are complexes of DNA that cap the ends of your chromosomes.
They shorten with age.
The length of your telomeres are considered a direct indicator of cellular and biological aging.
Telomeres are accelerated in shortening when the aging process is accelerated… this has been shown in other disorders such as depression, stress, increased cortisol levels, oxidative stress, higher levels of inflammation and now… anxiety conditions.
- The study looked at 1283 patients with active anxiety disorders, 459 patients with a resolved anxiety disorder, and 582 control patients with no psychiatric disorders. The average age was 42 years and 66% of the participants were female, 34% male.
- Accelerated aging was found in all anxiety disorders including social phobias, agoraphobia, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorders.
- Telomere length shortens by about 14 base pairs a year.
- Even after controlling for sex, weight, health, lifestyle factors, smoking, drinking, etc… patients with active anxiety disorders had significantly shorter telomeres than those without anxiety (by 75 base pairs on average) AND shorter telomeres than those whose anxiety disorder was adequately addressed (by 68 base pairs on average.)
This shows the incredible resilience of our body to stress, disease, and trauma!!
- After the anxiety was alleviated, telomere length returned to almost the exact length that non-anxious patients had!
- And the longer the patient has been anxiety free, the closer it was in telomere length to those who had no history at all of any anxiety disorder.
Just as it is never too late to stop smoking (because there are immediate health benefits as the body immediately starts to repair)
it is NEVER too late to address anxiety…
…as the body is fully capable of reversing the aging effects of anxiety on our DNA.
So this is yet another study to prove:
Our psychology has a direct effect on our physiology.
In other words…
…our emotions and state of mind matter.
As I write about here, our outlook impacts our physical body.
This latest study showed an average life span shortening of about 5 years or more just due to anxiety.
And a near complete reversal by addressing that anxiety.
Add years to your life by getting help when you need it.
Don’t ignore anxiety.
Anxiety is extremely common and there is a lot of support out there just waiting to help you.
I’ve blogged about anxiety quite a bit because just like many of you, I’ve had my own share of anxiety and have learned how to work with this energy to optimize my own health and the health of thousands of my patients who have anxiety struggles.
My Top 10 Blog Posts On Anxiety
(click on each to read more…):
Because I understand anxiety, one of my missions is to help decrease your anxiety when it relates to health issues.
So I’ve made a bunch of videos for you… check my top 3 anxiety relieving videos out:
Decrease your anxiety when Googling health information: specific tips for navigating health info online
It’s OK to get sick!!! It’s nothing to feel bad or embarrassed about. I get asked a lot… do I ever get sick? My answer is HECK YES! Of course! And here’s why and what I do about it…
- The top 5 ways to navigate a crisis and protect your health A crisis is an opportunity for transformation… here’s how.
I really hope these resources help!