Low high-density lipoprotein and psychopathology: A review

Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2019 Aug;31(3):209-213.


Background: An association between the level of total cholesterol and psychopathology has been the focus of numerous studies. Low total cholesterol has been found to be related to depression, personality disorders, and dissociative disorder. High cholesterol has been associated with schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. However, no reviews of the psychiatric correlates of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) have been published. We reviewed the literature for studies reporting a significant association between low or high levels of HDL and psychopathology.

Methods: A search of major databases (PubMed and CINAHL) was conducted using the following keywords: HDL, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, OCD, and psychiatric disorders.

Results: Eight studies met our search criteria. Six of the 8 studies reported significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, and violent behaviors in participants with low HDL.

Conclusions: Overall, a low HDL may not only be associated with risk for cardiac disease, but also with increased risk for serious psychiatric disorders. Further controlled studies are warranted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / blood*
  • Depressive Disorder / blood*
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood*
  • Suicide, Attempted*
  • Violence*


  • Lipoproteins, HDL