Who Answers?

Mental Health Conditions

855 339 1112

Mental Health Conditions and Aging

By addressing mental health concerns and adopting healthy habits, individuals can promote overall well-being and potentially mitigate any negative impact on the aging process.

Navigation: Do People With Mental Health Conditions Age More Quickly?, Do People with Mental Disorders Have Shorter Lives?, Why You Need to Prioritize Your Mental Health, Practicing Healthy Behaviors for Your Mental and Physical Health, Build a Support System that Will Help You Fight Your Mental Illness, Rehab Is Your Best Chance


The concept of the “mind-body connection” has recently gone mainstream due to the ever-growing research exploring the relationship between a person’s physical health and their mental health.

Researchers are establishing that a person’s mental well-being may in fact have measurable effects on their physical health. In fact, new research suggests that your mental health may even have an influence on the biological aging process. Specifically, having mental disorders may cause a person’s body to become biologically older than it actually is.

Here we are going to talk about whether or not mental health problems really take a toll on your body and what this means for people with mental disorders.


Do People With Mental Health Conditions Age More Quickly?

New research shows that poor mental health can potentially cause accelerated aging of the body. People with mental disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other health conditions may be exposed to an increased risk of life-shortening conditions like diabetes and obesity.

It has been established that major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders can have a significant impact on the body. For example, MDD is known to increase a person’s risk for heart disease. A research published in Nature Reviews Cardiology back in November 2016 showed that MDD also increased the severity and likelihood of death from heart disease.

But new research supports the evidence that there is a connection between the mind and body. Presented at the European Congress of Psychiatry in March, this new study shows that people who have a long history of mental health problems also have physical signs that their bodies are older than their actual numerical age.

When we talk about age, we usually discuss chronological age or how many years old someone is. We also use this when we talk about the risk factors for a number of diseases, with older individuals being at risk due to their chronological age.

But another way to discuss age is through biological age, which is a person’s functional age. A person’s biological age refers to how their body has changed over time based on other factors such as lifestyle habits, genetic factors, and health conditions, rather than just the number of years they have been alive.

Researchers can measure a person’s biological age using their DNA or certain “markers” in the blood. These markers change as you get older.

The researchers analyzed data on 168 blood markers from nearly 111,000 people in the UK Biobank. The UK Biobank is a large research database containing health information from participants in the United Kingdom. They compared this information between people with mental disorders and people without mental disorders.

They found that those who have a history of mental health problems have a blood marker profile that is similar to people who are older than them. This means that their biological age appeared older than their chronological age, on average. This was according to a press release statement by Dr. Julian Mutz, PhD, who was the lead researcher and a postdoctoral research associate for the Social, Genetic, and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at King’s College London in England.

“For example, people with bipolar disorder had blood markers indicating that they were around two years older than their chronological age,” Dr. Mutz said during his presentation at the European Congress of Psychiatry.

Beyond these findings, we can also take note of the fact that some mental health conditions may be associated with certain lifestyle factors or behaviors that could potentially impact physical health and accelerate the aging process.

For example, individuals with mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety may be more prone to adopting unhealthy coping mechanisms like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor sleep patterns, or inadequate nutrition. These factors can have a negative impact on overall health and potentially contribute to accelerated aging.

Aside from biological aging, mental disorders can also have adverse effects on various bodily systems, including the cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine systems. Prolonged activation of the stress response can potentially contribute to the development of age-related diseases and physiological changes associated with aging.

It’s no secret that poor mental health can have a huge impact on a person’s overall well-being and quality of life. However, it’s worth mentioning that mental health conditions can be effectively managed and treated through various interventions, including therapy, medication, and lifestyle modifications.

By addressing mental health concerns and adopting healthy habits, individuals can promote overall well-being and potentially mitigate any negative impact on the aging process.

Mental health care is just as important as taking care of your physical health. If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health difficulties, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and support.


Do People with Mental Disorders Have Shorter Lives?

Prior studies have shown similar results. One study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry in 2018 showed that people with MDD had DNA changes that were consistent with an older biological age compared to those without MDD.

Other research for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and bipolar disorder have yielded similar findings.

It’s not entirely accurate to say that all individuals with mental health disorders will have shorter lives. However, research suggests that certain mental health conditions can be associated with a higher risk of physical health problems and a potential reduction in life expectancy.

People with mental health disorders may experience a range of challenges that can potentially impact their overall health and well-being, including their lifespan. It’s important to note that various factors can influence these outcomes, and individual experiences can vary significantly.

Several reasons contribute to the potential impact of mental health disorders on lifespan:

Lifestyle factors: Mental health disorders can be linked to lifestyle factors that may affect physical health. These include difficulties with maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, managing stress, and maintaining healthy relationships. Poor lifestyle choices and behaviors can increase the risk of various physical health conditions.

Co-occurring physical health conditions: People with mental health disorders may also be at a higher risk of developing co-occurring physical health conditions. Mental health conditions can sometimes lead to behaviors that impact physical health, such as substance abuse, smoking, or neglecting personal care. Additionally, some mental health disorders, such as depression, have been associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.

Reduced access to healthcare: Individuals with mental health disorders may face barriers to accessing healthcare, including limited resources, stigma, and inadequate healthcare coverage. This can result in delayed or inadequate treatment for physical health conditions, leading to poorer health outcomes and potentially impacting life expectancy.

Increased risk of suicide: Certain mental health disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, are associated with an increased risk of suicide. Suicide is a significant contributor to premature mortality among individuals with mental health conditions.

So while not all mental health problems carry the same risk of reduced lifespan, certain factors can contribute to it. The good news is that advancements in mental healthcare are helping to address these concerns and improve outcomes for individuals with mental health disorders.

Why You Need to Prioritize Your Mental Health

Mental health affects your emotional state and your ability to cope with stress, handle challenges, and experience positive emotions. Prioritizing your mental health allows you to cultivate emotional well-being, leading to a greater sense of happiness, contentment, and fulfillment in life.

But when tackling mental disorders, it is important to consider that its effects are not just psychological. It can also affect a person’s whole body.

Mental health and physical health are closely connected. Neglecting your mental health can lead to a range of physical issues, including increased risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, weakened immune system, sleep problems, and digestive issues. Prioritizing your mental health can help maintain a healthy balance between your mind and body.

You may also notice an increase in productivity. Taking care of your mental health enhances your ability to focus, concentrate, and be productive. It improves cognitive function, memory, and creativity, allowing you to perform better at work or in your studies. You can maximize your potential and achieve greater success in various areas of life by taking care of your mental health.

Your mental health even affects your relationships with other people. Specifically, good mental health positively impacts your relationships with others.

When you prioritize your mental health, you can communicate effectively, form deeper connections, and maintain healthier boundaries. It also helps you better understand and support the mental well-being of your loved ones, contributing to more fulfilling and meaningful relationships.

Life can be challenging and stressful at times. Prioritizing mental health equips you with the tools and coping strategies to manage stress effectively. It helps you develop resilience and adaptability, enabling you to navigate difficult situations with greater ease and bounce back from setbacks.

It’s not selfish to prioritize your mental health. Think of it as a way to prevent or manage your mental health issues. It can also help you with stress management, which will improve your overall quality of life.

Prioritizing your mental health is an act of self-care and self-preservation. By taking care of your mental well-being, you not only benefit yourself but also contribute to a healthier and happier community as a whole.

If you’re struggling with mental health, don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals who can provide support and guidance.

Practicing Healthy Behaviors for Your Mental and Physical Health

There are several ways you can take care of your physical and mental health. It’s not just for the purpose of preventing your body from aging, but also for improving your quality of life.

Taking care of your mental health to promote good physical health is a great idea, but thanks to the mind-body connection, it can also go the other way around. By taking care of your body, you can improve your mental health. Practice making healthy choices on a daily basis and make them your new habits.

Instead of worrying about biological aging, focus on the things you can control, including your lifestyle habits and behaviors. Lifestyle choices ultimately impact your biological age after all.

Engaging in physical activity releases endorphins, so make sure you get plenty of exercise on a regular basis. Exercise is a natural mood enhancer. Regular exercise can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve sleep, and boost self-esteem.

Exercise is only half of the equation though. A nutritious diet plays a vital role in supporting mental health. Focus on consuming whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Avoid excessive caffeine and sugar, as they can negatively impact your mood and energy levels.

Try to get enough sleep each night. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep to promote cognitive function, emotional well-being, and overall mental health. Establish a consistent sleep routine and create a sleep-friendly environment.

Aside from taking care of yourself, you can also find ways to deal with the various stressors that you encounter on a regular basis. Life is full of challenges. Find healthy ways to manage stress.

You can practice various relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. You can also try out new hobbies to fill your time. Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms like excessive alcohol or drug use.

Taking care of your physical and mental health also means maintaining a strong support network. Nurture relationships with family and friends. Spend time with loved ones, participate in group activities, join clubs or organizations, and seek social support when needed.

Positive social connections can improve mood, reduce feelings of loneliness, and provide a sense of belonging.

Set achievable goals that align with your values and priorities. Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps to enhance your sense of accomplishment and reduce feelings of being overwhelmed.

Finally, if you are struggling with your mental health, you can always seek professional help. Don’t hesitate to reach out for proper mental health care. A therapist or counselor can provide proper guidance and support.

Remember, everyone’s journey to mental health is unique, and it’s important to find what works best for you. Incorporate these healthy behaviors into your daily routine and make adjustments as needed to support your overall well-being.

Build a Support System that Will Help You Fight Your Mental Illness

If you are struggling with your mental health, you don’t have to suffer alone. Building a support system for your mental health is crucial for maintaining well-being and managing any challenges that may arise.

Here are some steps to help you build a strong support system:

Identify your needs: Reflect on your mental health needs and the specific areas where you would like support. This could include emotional support, practical assistance, or professional guidance.

Reach out to trusted individuals: Start by reaching out to people you trust, such as close friends, family members, or a partner. Share your thoughts and feelings with them, expressing your desire for their support. Be open and honest about what you’re going through.

Join support groups: Look for local or online support groups related to your specific mental health concerns. These groups often provide a safe space for sharing experiences, gaining insights, and receiving support from people who can relate to your struggles.

Connect with community resources: Explore community resources like community centers, local mental health organizations, or helplines. These organizations often offer various programs, workshops, or counseling services that can help you build a support system and access additional support when needed.

Use online platforms: Online communities and forums can provide valuable support for mental health concerns. Websites like Reddit or specific mental health-focused platforms offer spaces for discussing experiences, sharing advice, and connecting with others who may be going through similar challenges.

Seek professional help: Consider reaching out to mental health professionals, such as therapists, counselors, or psychiatrists. They can provide you with specialized support and guidance tailored to your specific needs. They may also recommend support groups or other resources to supplement your professional care.

Look for a rehab near you today if you also need support for a co-occurring substance use disorder. Get started on the road to recovery today.

Rehab is Your Best Chance

Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs or alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.


author avatar
Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

Addiction Treatment Centers For
Drugs, Alcohol and Prescription Drug Abuse

Call Now