We've all felt like stress and depression were taking it's toll on us and now we're finding out it really is.
Research now shows that people dealing with depression age faster, losing up to six years off their lives.
The reason seems to be a wearing out of a cell structure called telomeres.
Telomeres are "like the plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces, telomeres cap the ends of chromosomes to protect the cell's DNA from damage, reports HealthDay.
“Telomeres get a bit shorter each time a cell divides, so they are useful markers for aging."
The findings show people who are, or have been depressed have shorter telomeres.
Josine Verhoeven is the study’s author.
"Results like ours suggest that psychological distress, as experienced by depressed persons, has a large, detrimental impact on the wear and tear of a person's body, resulting in accelerated biological aging," she said.
What isn’t clear yet is whether depression was the key reason the telomeres were shorter.
LiveScience says it does bring up some interesting issues.
If it is possible to lengthen the telomeres would the effects be reversed leading to a longer life,
One scientist says "it has potential therapeutic importance," but admits so does diet, exercise, and the control of stress.