Health Benefits of Coming Out
The researchers studied 87 men and women around 25 years old of various sexual orientations. They measured stress hormone levels, 21 bio markers related to immune function and symptoms of depression and found that the subjects who were open about their sexuality were the most mentally healthy compared to those who were still in the closet. Gays and lesbians who were honest with family and friends about their orientation no longer had to live a double-life and pretend to be something they weren't.
This study helped explain another study published last year in the American Journal of Public Health. That one found that after Massachusetts enacted its same-sex marriage law in 2003, there was a significant drop in medical and mental health care visits by gay men. Of course costs also went down.
It isn't a surprise that living an authentic, honest life and being open with one's values is a building block for emotional and mental health. It is stressful to lie, hide or feel ashamed about one's self and stress hormones are released that contribute to anxiety, depression and even heart disease. I see patients all the time that are ill because if "dis-ease" more than disease. When we push feelings inside and don't deal with problems directly, it manifests in impaired immune systems, poor sleep, anxiety and disease.