Scientists believe that depression is closely related to inflammation, which is an immune system response. The possible link between the two leads to progress in treatment and renews the hope for people who suffer from depression.
PHYSICAL CAUSE OF DEPRESSION
Despite the fact that all medical treatments focus on serotonin, as a brain chemical responsible for maintaining mood balance, scientists see the possibility that the root cause of depression might lie in inflammation throughout the body (that happens as a reaction of an overactive immune system). According to scientists, inflammation processes could also cause unhappiness, anxiety, and fatigue. From here comes the conclusion that anti-inflammatory drugs could also be used to treat depression. Depression might be a sign that the immune system is fighting infection or viruses and consequently, the inability of the immune system to recover from an illness or trauma could lead to chronic depression.
The growing number of research evidence, like many scientific reports and results from clinical researches, show that the inflammation treatment actually alleviate symptoms of depression. Some researchers from Stanford, revealed that they could make a diagnostic laboratory test for (ME/CFS) or myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome and possibly, the very first treatment for it. This helps to reaffirm the connection between ME/CFS, a disease that is commonly associated with depression, and inflammation.
The ultimate connection between inflammation and depression was revealed in October 2016 through a review of the research that concentrates on the anti-inflammatory drugs of the next generation, which are mostly used in autoimmune disorders treatments. This connection could lead to progress in treating depression. According to the review, around one third of the people that suffer from depression have elevated cytokine levels, which represent inflammatory proteins important for immune responses. This could lead to inflammation in their brains and consequently, those people with overactive immune systems, that produce high cytokine levels, are more likely to develop depression.
Professor Ed Bullmore, Head of Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, considers that a new field of “immune-neurology” is on the way. At a recent conference in London associated with the Academy of Medical Sciences FORUM annual lecture, he told that everyone is already familiar with the fact that inflammation can cause depression. When it comes to mood there is undeniable relation between inflammation and depressive symptoms. The only doubt is whether the inflammation causes depression or the other way around, or is this just a coincidence. If healthy people, for the purpose of experimental medicine studies, are treated with inflammatory drug as interferon for example, a large number of those people are likely to develop depression. This is a sufficient evidence for the causal link between inflammation and depression.
The results from these studies could lead to progress in treatments for depression that shouldn’t be for a lifetime. If this knowledge is used to define and treat depression, it could lead to change in the artificial dichotomy between body and mind. The fact that depression is a result of a physical cause and it is not a mental illness, could make the treatment more available for the sufferers.