How Inflammation is Linked to Depression

 One of the least understood parts of the body is the brain. This is why mental health issues such as depression are so interesting to scientists. Studies that have been conducted on this topic have suggested that there may e a relationship between it and inflammation.

Understanding Inflammation

The body uses inflammation to help it fight off harmful invaders like infections and viruses. This is done by your immune system which uses proteins, white blood cells, and cytokines to mark areas throughout your body that require healing. When this happens you’ll experience physical signs of illness like weakness and fatigue.

There are two types of inflammation that you may experience. These are:

  • Acute inflammation occurs when you’ve had a trauma or injury occur that’s lasted anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

  • Chronic inflammation can last for years.

The Cause of Inflammation

Both mental and physical stressors, as well as environmental factors, can result in inflammation. Things like emotional trauma, abuse, and poverty can result in your brain’s wires getting crossed. When this happens your brain mistakes physical stress for physical stress and your body reacts by trying to fight it off through the process of inflammation. This may develop into chronic inflammation if the environmental trigger lasts for a long period of time.

Chronic Inflammation and Depression

Since acute inflammation only has short-term effects on the body, unlike chronic inflammation it isn’t expected to result in depression. According to research, those patients who have elevated CRP levels caused by inflammation do have an increased likelihood of having such a diagnosis within a 5 year period. This is because, over time, chronic inflammation results in the body breaking down which results in pain, weakness, and fatigue.

Depression and Autoimmune Disorders

Chronic inflammation and its related disorders are what are known as autoimmune disorders. What this means is that your immune system has started to malfunction so that it’s now began attacking your body instead of doing its job in attacking any foreign pathogens that (e.g. parasites, viruses) enters the body.

Experts believe that there are a few reasons why people who have autoimmune disorders are more likely to develop depression. One of the reasons is that the body is physically breaking down. When this happens it significantly affects your brain’s chemistry as well as your hormone levels. Another reason (one that’s much less obvious) is the way in which the autoimmune disorder impacts the person’s quality of life. This is because conditions such as chronic inflammation are very painful - to the point they’re able to place serious limitations on your mobility. This makes it so that you can no longer exercise and release endorphins, something that’s a significant risk factor for your mental health.

Research and Treatment

Research is still in its initial stages here. There still needs to be more research done into this topic. This means that we still have a long way to go when it comes to understanding what lies at the heart of depression and how it can either be prevented or treated. Current studies are targeting autoimmune markers to inhibit or block them from communicating with a person’s brain.

Unfortunately, this is a complex issue and no single treatment is going to work for everyone. Continued research is important so that we can come to a better understanding of it. In the meantime, if you find yourself suffering from mental health issues in Clearwater and St Petersburg, FL contact TMS Advantage for the help you need. Over the years they’ve successfully helped many people regain control of their lives and they look forward to helping you too.


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