Mental illness shouldn’t be ignored or taken lightly. A recent study suggests that people with mental illness may be biologically older than their actual age. This means that the internal organs of people with mental disorders may age faster compared to healthy individuals. This phenomenon causes a significant impact on the overall health and well-being of mentally ill patients. In this article, we’ll explore the study’s findings and discuss how this affects the treatment, care, and support for people with mental illness.
A new study suggests that the bodies of people with mental illness may be biologically older than their actual age. The research found that individuals with a lifetime history of conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorders have signals in their blood that indicate they are older than their years. People with bipolar disorder, for example, had blood markers indicating that they were around two years older than their chronological age. The findings may help explain why people with mental health problems tend to have shorter lifespans and more age-related diseases than the general population.
The study analyzed data on 168 different blood metabolites from 110,780 participants in the UK Biobank study. The researchers linked this data to information on whether people had a history of mental illness and found that those with a mental illness had a metabolite profile older than what would have been expected for their age. The lead researcher, Dr. Julian Mutz from King’s College London, stated that it is now possible to predict people’s age from blood metabolites. The study’s findings suggest that the bodies of people with mental health problems tend to be older than expected for an individual their age. This accelerated biological ageing may be an important factor in explaining the difference in health and life expectancy between those with mental health problems and the general population.
The findings of this study have important implications for how we monitor the physical health of people with mental illness and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving physical health. Using these markers to track biological ageing may change how we approach the physical health of people with mental illness. The study was presented at the European Congress of Psychiatry in Paris, France.
As our understanding of mental illnesses continues to evolve, it becomes increasingly clear that these conditions don’t just affect our minds; they have far-reaching physical effects as well. This research on “biological age” is just the latest in a growing body of evidence that people with mental illness often face significant health challenges — and that our medical system needs to take a more holistic approach if we want to help them thrive. By shifting our focus to the whole person rather than just their symptoms, we can help ensure that everyone — no matter what challenges they face — has the opportunity to live a long and healthy life.