Depression is a disease. More often than not, society associates depression with sufferers being mentally and emotionally weak, when the reality is depression is as much an illness as any other. Recently, scientists have discovered that many cases of depression can be linked to an allergic reaction to inflammation in the body, showing how this mental illness is more of a physical disease related to infection.
Depression Is a Disease
One major reason that inflammation occurs is the result of an unhealthy diet. Like typically high in sugar, large amounts of trans fats, and often resulting in obesity. Following a healthy diet can help to avoid the onset of inflammation. And which may lead to the allergic reaction found to cause depression.
“Inflammation is our immune system’s natural response to injuries, infections, or foreign compounds.” Tim de Chant of NOVA explained. “When triggered, the body pumps various cells and proteins to the site through the blood stream. Including cytokines, a class of proteins that facilitate intercellular communication. It also happens that people suffering from depression are loaded with cytokines.”
Elanor Morgan, from VICE, claimed cytokines dramatically increase in people who experience an episode of depression and suffer from bipolar disorder. She explained, “The fact that ‘normal,’ healthy people can become temporarily anxious or depressed after receiving an inflammatory vaccine like typhoid. And lends further credence to the theory.” Morgan also mentioned how there are those, “…who think we should re-brand depression altogether as an infectious [non-contractible] disease.”
Leading to New Treatment Options
This new research is pivotal for the field of science in showing depression is a disease because not only will it lead to helping break the stigma surrounding depression, but it could also lead to more effective treatment for suffering individuals.
Kings College psychiatrist, Carmine Pariante, believes that in anywhere from five years to a decade, there could potentially be a blood test available to determine the amounts of inflammation in those suffering from depression.
Individuals have been prescribed antidepressants as the traditional course of treatment for depression. With this new research, the physical components of the illness can be effectively treated. as opposed to just the traditional mental ones. This would include adding anti-inflammatory agents in the anti-depressant medication to better alleviate symptoms.
When testing the addition of anti-inflammatories to anti-depressants, it was found that those who were being treated for their depression had shown improvement. In further testing, Omega 3 and curcumin, an extract of the spice tumeric, are natural supplements that were both discovered to have comparable anti-inflammatory results.
These supplements could be used for treatment. But despite their easy accessibility. And are not necessarily effective enough to be considered viable options for medical treatment.
The more research that is conducted on the brain and in the mental health field, the more society can learn about how to better treat mental illnesses and understand that they may have just as much of a physical component to them as any other disease.
This is not the first time a mental illness has been associated with a physical reaction in the body. Previously, it was discovered by scientists that several cases of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in children were brought on by Streptococcus. A bacteria (Strep throat) and was specifically referred to as Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders. And associated with Streptococcal Infections, or PANDAS.
It’s groundbreaking for the field
Of science and mental health when scientists can make discoveries like this about how mental illnesses may be brought on by physical reactions in the body. This can help break the stigma of mental illnesses because society will be able to finally classify them as actual physical diseases and treat them as the illnesses they truly are.
Depression can often lead to self-medicating with the use of alcohol and/or other drugs. Are you active in an addiction to substances and in need of help? You don’t need to continue suffering. Contact The Watershed for help today. Walk free now.Tags: allergic reaction, Depression, mental health, mental illness, physical allergy, Recovery, Recovery Blogs