Discover The Hidden Links Of Depression.

Depression is a complex condition. About 70 million people have had at least one incidence of serious depression in their life time. Depression can be linked to distressing events in your life, such as loss of a loved one, stress and hormonal alterations, illnesses, specific drugs, or drug/alcohol abuse. Recent researches have shed new lights on different sources of depression.

Depression Is Linked With Inflammation.

Anybody who has suffered a viral or bacterial infection understands what it means to feel sick. Sickness brings on fever and nausea, lack of appetite and loss of interest in physical and social surroundings. Sick people exhaust easily, and have deprived sleep. Furthermore, they feel unhappy and irritable; suffer from reduced attention span and temporary memory loss. Just as terror is normal in the face of a predator, sickness is a normal response to infection caused by factors named inflammatory cytokines/markers produced by body’s immune and inflammatory cells.

There is a increasing evidence to suggest that inflammation is associated with depression. Here is some of the evidence:

– Enhanced levels of inflammatory cytokines can induce depressive behavior.
– Inflammatory cytokines can move in the brain and modify the levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin in the brain.
– Amounts of inflammatory cytokines are much higher in people suffering stress, anguish, sadness, and other difficult emotions.
– Elevated levels of inflammatory markers preceded the beginning of depressed mood in an elderly population with no psychiatric history.
– Depression is frequently linked with a diversity of factors (e.g., psychosocial stress, medical illness, obesity, poor diet, diminished sleep, social isolation) that are known to give rise to an increase in inflammatory markers.
– Depression is a recognized complication of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.
– Depression shares similarities with ‘sickness behavior’, a normal response to infection or inflammation.
– In cancer and hepatitis C patients receiving immunotherapy, depression appeared in up to 50% of patients.
– Neurochemical findings in autopsy studies suggest an inflammatory component to depression.
– Medications with an effect on the immune system can affect mood.

Play An Important Role In Depression

Researchers do not know why inflammatory cytokine levels are higher in depressed and anxious people. They speculate that psychological stress can alter blood pressure and heart rate. These stress-related changes can lead to the discharge of cell signaling molecules that promote cytokine production. Other source of elevated inflammatory cytokines include smoking, high fat diet, and being obese.

Numerous researches suggest inflammatory cytokines have a crucial role in depression. Inflammation may initiate, exacerbate, and lengthen depression through:

– Hyper-responsiveness to acute stress
– Altered immune system
– Neuronal impairment and neuron death
– Diminished neuron renewal
– Increased neurotoxic end products

Links Connecting Depression And Inflammatory Diseases.

Accumulating studies have shown compelling relationships between depression and known inflammatory or autoimmune diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Therefore, it is important to recognize inflammation as a shared factor that may cause multiple health problems. Depression is a known risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease, as well as an independent forecaster of poor prognosis following a cardiac event. For example, patients with heart disease are three times more likely depression than the general population. Stress could be an underlying trigger that causes the development of both depression and heart disease. Stress can set off depression by activating the nervous system, interrupting heart rhythm, increased tendency for clotting of the blood, and intensified inflammatory responses, all of which negatively impact the cardiovascular system.

Inflammation that impairs both the disease and the tendency towards depression is visible in diabetes and cancer. While negative emotions may not increase the risk of developing diabetes or cancer, they could exacerbates these illnesses. There is evidence that as soon as you have cancer, psychological stress and depression can worsen the cancer through elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines. Study proves that inflammatory cytokines can cause resistance to chemotherapy, accelerating the conversion of tumor cells into advanced cancer. Some cytokines appear to encourage the development of new blood vessels that nourish tumors, the crucial process in tumor metastasis.

Several large studies provided the evidence that patients with COPD are at an increased risk of developing depression. Despite progresses in various treatments, the death rate associated with COPD has doubled in 30 years. The presence of anxiety and depression has been linked to increased death, declined functional status, and reduced quality of life. Of people who suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS), more than 20% have depression. Evidence also suggests depression can worsen IBS.

Links Between Depression And Inflammatory Skin Conditions.

Depression is commonly accompanied with inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne and rosacea. Psoriasis is a hyper-proliferative inflammatory skin disease that often occurs as rough, red, flaking lesions. Multiple studies have established that depression is a widespread challenge among psoriasis patients, which can modify the progress of psoriasis as well as the effectiveness of treatments. The link between depression and acne has long been recognized, especially in teenagers. Acne increases the risk of depression and suicide attempt. Depression can also exacerbate acne.

Control Of Inflammation Represents A Novel Approach To Relieve Depression.

Evidence demonstrates that inflammatory cytokines prompts not only signs of sickness, but also true disorders in susceptible individuals and physically ill patients despite the fact that they have no previous history of mental disorders. The findings that inflammation can actually cause depression and various chronic disorders suggest that targeting inflammatory responses could be an innovative strategy to treat depression and associated health concerns. Various studies are under way to treat symptoms of depression with anti-inflammatory drugs including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Encouraging results have been achieved by blocking inflammatory cytokines in psoriasis and from the treatment of COX-2 inhibitors in patients with depression.

Natural Treatments For Relief of Inflammation And Depression Symptoms.

For decades, NSAIDs have been broadly recommended for various aspects of flu-like symptoms or sickness-related behaviors. Unfortunately, 25% of NSAIDs users encounter severe and sometimes fatal complications such as stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding. The newer NSAIDs such as selective COX-2 inhibitors (Vioxx and Celebrex) have been connected with an increased risk of serious undesirable cardiovascular events including heart attack and stroke. In this scenario, the good news is that safer approaches are available. You can fight depression and anxiety without the side effects of antidepressant drugs or NSAIDs! Nutrients, anti-inflammatory herbs and herbal remedies have been shown to alleviate depression symptoms.

By keeping inflammation under control, anti-inflammatory therapies may:

– Improve sleep and reduce headaches and anxiety
– Help restore the balance of nitric oxide and prostaglandins, which influences the severity of depression, anxiety, and sexual dysfunction
– Repair the body’s antioxidant defense
– Enhance the vascular healing and repair
– Recover vascular cell function and integrity

Millions of people go undiagnosed or untreated for depression. Without treatment, depression may remain for 6 months or longer, with increased occurrence and intensity of incidents. If you feel the pain from depression, or your symptoms of depression persist despite the treatment of anti-depressant drugs, or your anti-depressant medicines become less helpful, you may need to recognize inflammatory sources and seek for anti-inflammatory treatment.

– Inflammatory mechanisms in major depressive disorder. Raedler TJ. Current Opinion in Psychiatry. 24(6):519-25, 2011
– Inflammatory cytokine levels and depressive symptoms in older women in the year after hip fracture: findings from the Baltimore Hip Studies. Matheny ME. et al. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 59(12):2249-55, 2011
– Association between social isolation and inflammatory markers in depressed and non-depressed individuals: results from the MONICA/KORA study. Hafner S. et al. KORA Study Investigators. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity. 25(8):1701-7, 2011
– Cytokines mediated inflammation and decreased neurogenesis in animal models of depression. Song C. Wang H. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry. 35(3):760-8, 2011
– Glucocorticoids, cytokines and brain abnormalities in depression. Zunszain PA. et al. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry. 35(3):722-9, 2011
– Inflammatory biomarkers in depression: an opportunity for novel therapeutic interventions. Li M. Soczynska JK. Kennedy SH. Current Psychiatry Reports. 13(5):316-20, 2011
– Altered expression of genes involved in inflammation and apoptosis in frontal cortex in major depression. Shelton RC. et al. Molecular Psychiatry. 16(7):751-62, 2011