Chronic anxiety speeds up aging by six years

MedPage Today reports that a study supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health found that “chronic panic, phobia, and similar anxiety disorders may contribute to premature aging by shortening telomeres.”

Olivia Okereke, MD, MS, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said, “The magnitude of this difference was comparable to that for women 6 years apart in age.” She added that telomeres shortening, a gradual process of loss of the repetitive DNA sequences capping off chromosomes that occurs when cells divide, “isn’t reversible.”

Reuters reports that the rate of anxiety disorder diagnoses has grown drastically over the past 30 years.

Many doctors say that advances in medicine, screen procedures, and proper training have led to the rise in the number of people being diagnosed with some forms of mental disorders. However, this also means that more people are being treated and helped by medical professionals.

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