Stress-related psychiatric disorders, such as depressive and anxiety disorders, have been associated with increased risk of overall mortality as well as with the onset of various aging-related somatic diseases. In addition to unhealthy lifestyles and poorer (self) care, various stress-related physiological processes likely contribute to these detrimental health consequences of psychiatric disorders. Considering the fact that the impact of stress-related disorders is visible on many different somatic health outcomes, it is unlikely that contributing biological systems are very specific. In fact, it is likely that multiple dysregulations of stress systems, including the immune, HPA-axis and autonomic nervous systems, but also various general proteomic or metabolomic pathways are involved. The concept of Allostatic Load (AL) emphasizes the presence of a multi-system physiological dysregulation.
In this talk I will summarize what the evidence is for somatic health consequences of psychiatric conditions, with depression as an important example. Subsequently, I will provide an overview of the various stress systems that are dysregulated in depressed patients. In addition, I will provide empirical data from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (n = 2981) that illustrate that there is evidence that depressed patients are especially at risk for a dysregulation in multiple physiological stress systems. I will also illustrate how such a state of AL can impact on basis cellular aging indicators like telomere length and epigenetic age.
In sum, this talk will highlight the current state-of-evidence for an association between depressions with the onset of many adverse somatic health outcomes, and will provide insight into the contributing role of a multisystem physiological dysregulation.
Disclosure of interest
The author has not supplied his declaration of competing interest.