For decades, scientists have been focused primarily on chemicals in the brain to find answers about depression. New studies reveal that inflammation can cause depression and make a person have feelings of distress, despair, and hopelessness!
Research into depression and its treatment have been focused mainly on chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine and their balance and imbalance. However, mounting evidence places the blame for unshakable despondence on an immune system refusing to shut down after severe illness or trauma.
“It’s pretty clear that inflammation can cause depression,” said Professor Ed Bullmore. He is the head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge.
The professor added that there is a plausible link between inflammation and the miserable symptoms that people experience with depression. He said that it’s not going to be long until we see a new field called “immuno-neurology.”
“We give people a vaccination and they will become depressed. Vaccine clinics could always predict it, but they could never explain it. The question is does the inflammation drive the depression or vice versa or is it just a coincidence?”
The professor explains that if you treat a healthy person with an inflammatory drug, such as interferon, a good percentage of those people will start to get depressed. That is why they see a strong correlation between inflammation and depression.
A 20-year study, which concluded this June, noted similar results as the studies from Bullmore. The conclusion of this new study is that:
“The field has burgeoned in the last few years, and we have now clear translational opportunities for psychoneuroimmunology and immunopsychiatry to help patients, delivering both predictive biomarkers to implement precision psychiatry and novel pharmacological agents that improves depression through an anti-inflammatory action.”
The news source Telegraph said that scientists from the Cambridge University and Wellcome Trust are organizing a study to treat depression with anti-inflammatory medication since the professor Ed Bullmore suggested that it could work.
An intriguing fact about depression is that 30% of people who suffers from chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis also said to suffer from depression too. Four times higher ratio than the normal population.
Besides the awful symptoms that come with depression, the illness serves a purpose. Scientists assume the reflex to withdraw, rest, and cordon oneself from regular activity during an illness or recovery from injury would have prevented infections from spreading to the healthy population.
Scientists have been forced to rethink the possibility of a connection between immune system and depression.
Reader in Neuropsychiatry at the University of Edinburgh, Dr. Alan Carson, explains that all psychiatric and neurological illnesses are based in the brain, and the brain is not something static. The brain is structurally and functionally responsive to a range of psychological, social issues and also biological stimuli. “Yet institutionally we use an outmoded code which separates brain disorders into psychiatric ‘f’ codes and neurological ‘g’ codes which hold back both scientific and clinical progress.”
Revealing data about the link between depression and inflammation is a tremendous step forward. Furthermore, scientists expect more accurate research in the future, so they can use the valuable information for treating depression more effectively. Please note, despite this being a newer method of treating depression; it should not replace your current treatment models, but rather act as a supplement to treatment.