Stress Disorders Increase Your Risk Of Severe Infections

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Stress Disorders Increase Your Risk Of Severe Infections
Stress Disorders Increase Your Risk Of Severe Infections

Video: Stress Disorders Increase Your Risk Of Severe Infections

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Video: Infections and the Brain 2023, January
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Stress Disorders Increase Your Risk of Severe Infections

Scientists have found that stress-related disorders increase the risk of serious, life-threatening infectious diseases such as meningitis, endocarditis, or sepsis.

Stress Disorders Increase Your Risk of Severe Infections
Stress Disorders Increase Your Risk of Severe Infections

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Stress-related disorders are associated with an increased subsequent risk of life-threatening infectious diseases such as meningitis and sepsis, according to a major international study published in The BMJ.

Stress Disorders - PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), acute stress reaction, adjustment disorder, etc. - are frequent and associated with a deterioration in mental and physical health.

In a similar study published in BMJ in April 2019, the authors found a link between stress disorders and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Evidence also suggests that psychological stress can increase susceptibility to infections by lowering immunity.

In this study, an international team of scientists analyzed Swedish population and health registers to determine whether severe psychiatric reactions to trauma and other accidents are associated with a subsequent risk of life-threatening infections such as sepsis, endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of the heart) and meningitis or other infections. central nervous system.

The researchers compared 144919 patients diagnosed with stress disorder and participants who were not affected by stress disorder - 184612 siblings of these patients and 1449190 people in the general population.

During follow-up (over 8 years), new cases of life-threatening infections per 1000 person-years (the product of the number of people in the study and the length of follow-up) were 2.9 in patients with stress disorders, compared with 1.7 in brothers / sisters and 1.3 in people from the general population.

After taking into account family history and other physical or mental conditions, stress disorders were found to be associated with all infections listed in the study. The highest relative risks, compared with unaffected siblings, were for meningitis (63%) and endocarditis (57%).

The greatest increase in risk was observed when the diagnosis was made at a young age and in the presence of other psychiatric diseases (especially substance use disorders). And the use of SSRIs (antidepressants with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) in the first year after diagnosis, on the contrary, provided a protective effect.

“It is difficult to pinpoint the true nature of the link between physical health and stress-related disorders, most likely due to various biological, psychological and social factors,” explained Professor Jonathan Bisson of Cardiff University in an accompanying editorial.

Because the study was observational, no causal relationship was established. Scientists do not exclude the possibility of influencing the results of other factors that they did not measure. However, further analysis showed that the results are consistent with previous studies on the biological relationship between stress and infection.

Scientists point out the need for further research to improve understanding of the role of lifestyle factors, as well as treatments for stress disorders. This will help reduce the excess risk of life-threatening infections.

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