Anxiety and depression linked with higher risk of liver disease

While past research has already indicated that mental distress can increase the risk of someone having heart disease or another cardiovascular-related condition, a new study has shown that it can also be linked to an individual being at a higher risk of dying from liver disease.

Dr Tom Russ and his team of researchers at the University of Edinburgh conducted a study regarding psychological distress among 165,000 people.

They analysed participants’ progress during a ten-year period via surveys, paying particular attention to those who died and their causes of death.

Socioeconomic status, alcohol consumption, obesity, and diabetes were some of the key factors taken into account during research analysis.

The team’s findings indicated that participants who displayed symptoms of psychological distress were more likely to die from liver disease, even after different factors had been taken into account.

Commenting on his research team’s discovery, Dr Russ said: “This type of study can’t show cause and effect.

“Therefore, it’s possible they could have had undiagnosed liver disease, and symptoms from this were causing the psychological distress.

“But even when we looked at just the deaths of people who died later in life – the association was still there.”

The study, which is published in the journal Gastroenterology, emphasises that a healthy mind and body are inextricably linked.

It has also shown that psychological distress can have a huge impact on physical wellbeing, though further studies would be needed to investigate the exact nature of the link between the two.