Depression that pervasive word that everyone fears. But what if depression isn’t what you have been told it is. What is does feel like is falling down the rabbit hole of your brain – not knowing how to get out… or even knowing how to get out. No light at the end of the tunnel. Darkness everywhere. You can’t get out of bed – can’t work; concentrate function – until you have that script in hand for
one of the myriad of anti-depressants that are available. How did so many of us become depressed? Why is depression an epidemic – up there with autism and chronic illness, I might add.
What if depression is your emotional response to a brain gone bad? What does that mean? Inflammation – biochemical imbalance – hormone imbalance – endocrine system imbalance. Dr. Kelly Brogan, wrote about this topic in a 2013 blog post entitled: From Gut to Brain: The Inflammation Connection
Psychiatry has known about the role of the immune system in certain presentations of depression for the better part of the last century, and more recently, pioneering thinkers like Maes, Raison, and Miller have written about the role of altered immune set points and inflammation in models of depression. Our immune systems are largely housed in the gut and the interplay between the gut and the brain is a complex and profoundly important relationship to appreciate.
We all recognize that anxiety or nervousness can impact our guts – most of us have had butterflies before a date or even diarrhea with extreme performance anxiety? We are just learning that this relationship is bidirectional; however, and that the gut can also communicate its state of calm or alarm to the nervous system. We think that the vagus nerve is a primary conduit of information and that inflammatory markers are the vehicles traveling this highway. Scientists have studied the “protective effects” of severing this nerve when animals are exposed to gut-related toxins that normally cause depressive symptoms. We are getting ahead of ourselves; however, because we need to better elucidate why inflammation matters, where it comes from, and why it is the universal driver of chronic illness.
I am glad to see that my colleague, Holly Grigg-Spall, author of Sweetening the Pill or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control get in on this conversation. Why? Because synthetic hormones also cause brain inflammation. Add to that vaccines, GMO’s psychotropic drugs – lack of nutrients in our foods… And add to that heavy metal exposure, cell phones, and other EMF’s – and pesticides, and before long our brain starts breaking down. The first sign: depression.
Depression and inflammation are reversible. No one needs to be living a life chained to a prescription psychotropic.
Is It Time to Change How Society Views Depression?
January 16, 2015
That was the first question on everyone’s lips after a study released last week claimed depression might be linked to high inflammation in the body. We’re a cure-obsessed culture, so it’s understandable, although it perhaps reveals much about how we collectively behave towards those that do suffer from this mental health issue and how we feel about our own mental stability. A cure for depression seems, if you really think about it, as outlandish an idea as a cure for cancer.
The idea that high inflammation can cause mood changes is not entirely new. An inflammation-causing drug or vaccine can, for some people, cause a change in emotional state. What is termed “sickness behavior” — basically how miserable you feel when you are sick — is seen as an example of the body ruling the mind as a part of physical illness. And, conversely, depressive feelings are thought to weaken the immune system.
Yet, only about 20-30% of people suffering with depression also actually experience inflammation symptoms, although this percentage is higher in those who don’t respond well to the usual medications (but it’s still only 45%). Not only that, but anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen have been shown to hinder the helpfulness of anti-depressants in those not suffering with high inflammation.
So, would this “cure” be prescribing a probably-lifelong regimen anti-inflammatory medication to at least that percentage of depression sufferers who might benefit? What could help is identifying, through routine blood tests, those that are experiencing high inflammation prior to embarking on the Russian roulette of prescribing them selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs bring a host of potential side-effects). That way, someone could be prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs plus an antidepressant when needed and probably experience good results.