Intended for healthcare professionals


Stress, psychiatric disorders, and cardiovascular disease

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 10 April 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l1577

Linked Research

Stress related disorders and risk of cardiovascular disease

  1. Simon L Bacon, professor and CIHR-SPOR chair1 2
  1. 1Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre, CIUSSS-NIM, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  2. 2Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Applied Physiology (HKAP), Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  1. Simon.bacon{at}

Clear evidence now links stress induced disorders such as PTSD to a higher risk of CVD

Well established links now exist between mood disorders such as depression and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease,1 and a large but somewhat contentious literature links anxiety disorders with cardiovascular disease.23 In contrast, data on the associations between other psychiatric disorders and cardiovascular disease are limited. In the linked paper (doi:10.1136/bmj.231),4 Song et al report on an elegant population based cohort study, including both sibling controlled and population matched designs exploring associations between acute psychiatric disorders induced by an acute stressful life event and cardiovascular disease.

In this large study (approximately 130 000 patients with a psychiatric disorder induced by acute stress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress reaction, or adjustment disorder; 170 000 full siblings without a disorder; and 1.4 million unexposed members of the general population) the authors found a consistent, significant …

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