Tags: neurotic | health | anxiety

Study: Being Neurotic Can Boost Health

Wednesday, 26 December 2012 09:56 AM

In research that gives new meaning to the term “health nut,” University of Rochester Medical Center medical specialists have found being neurotic may actually be good for your overall health — up to a point.
The study, published online in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, found people who describe themselves as neurotic tend to have the lowest levels of Interleukin 6 (IL-6), a biomarker for inflammation and chronic disease.
Researchers made the discovery while studying how personality traits influence biology and may predict health and harmful conditions like inflammation. Neurotics are usually moody, nervous, and worried. But lead researcher Nicholas A. Turiano, with the URMC Department of Psychiatry, noted some people with average-to-high levels of neuroticism are also conscientious and tend to be organized, goal-oriented, and thoughtful. As a result, his research found, they are more likely to take better care of their health.
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"These people are likely to weigh the consequences of their actions, and therefore their level of neuroticism coupled with conscientiousness probably stops them from engaging in risky behaviors," said Turiano.
To reach his conclusions, Turiano and colleagues analyzed medical records for more than 1,000 participants in the National Survey of Midlife Development. Participants were given a health clinic evaluation, including tests for disease-related biomarkers, physiological function, and personality traits.
The results showed that the 441 of the study participants who scored moderate to high on a standard test of neuroticism-conscientiousness levels had lower levels of IL-6 — an immune system protein that at high levels is linked to inflammation tied to heart disease, stroke, asthma, arthritis, diabetes, and some cancers — than others. These individuals also tended to have lower body weight and fewer chronic health conditions.
The term "healthy neuroticism" has been coined to describe how conscientiousness may reduce unhealthy behaviors like overeating, smoking, and drinking too much alcohol.
"Speculation is that healthy neurotics may be hyper-vigilant about their lifestyle and about seeking treatment when a problem arises," Turiano said. "It's their conscientiousness that guides their decisions to prevent disease or quickly get treatment when they don't feel well."
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institute of Mental Health.
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Medical specialists have found being neurotic may be good for your overall health — up to a point.
Wednesday, 26 December 2012 09:56 AM
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