Anxiety disorders might affect a sign of aging, but treatment can reverse the process, new research suggests.

A Dutch study of more than 2,300 people looked at telomeres, which are the DNA at the end of chromosomes. Telomeres shorten with age, so they’re considered a sign of cellular aging.

People with a current anxiety disorder had shorter telomeres than those without a mental health disorder and those with a history of an anxiety disorder, “although cause and effect remain to be explored,” says researcher Josine Verhoeven. She’s a PhD candidate at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam.

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