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Are you often anxious, fearful, and moody? Do you worry often or have feelings of envy, jealousy, and loneliness? These are characteristics of neuroticism, a personality trait might increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease significantly.

The association between neuroticism and Alzheimer’s later in life was so strong that researchers suggested people with such traits seek cognitive behavioral therapy to help reduce their risk.

It’s not that being neurotic directly
causes Alzheimer’s. However, it certainly increases your stress levels and may drive you to engage in unhealthy behaviors, like smoking, which further increase your risk.

As cases of Alzheimer’s continue to rise, the finding is actually
good news, because if you tend to worry excessively you can do something about it
now rather than later.

Being Neurotic May Double Your Risk of Alzheimer’s

Women who scored highest on a test for neuroticism were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than women with the lowest scores, the new study found.1

Women who were extroverted, meanwhile, had a lower degree of long-term distress, and while this wasn’t directly applicable to Alzheimer’s, the research found women who were both the most neurotic and the least extroverted had the highest risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The implication is that the distress associated with neuroticism is likely what’s driving its tie to Alzheimer’s, and this was shown in a previous study conducted by the same researchers last year.

That study found that women who faced common psychosocial stressors often experienced long-standing distress, and were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, than those who did not.

The stressors included in the study were divorce, widowhood, work problems or illness in a relative  hurdles that many people must overcome in their lives.