Depression may be driven by inflammation

Depression may be driven by inflammation

Some people are confused about the differences between a run-of-the-mill case of the blues and depression. Both of these can be caused by a specific event: difficulties at school, strained social relationships, the loss of a job, the end of a marriage, the death of a loved one and so on. However, while ordinary sadness is temporary, depression can persist for far longer than is expected. Additionally, depression can start for apparently no reason.

Unlike people who are just dealing with sadness, those who are depressed experience more severe and chronic hardships including fatigue, insomnia, changes in appetite, bodily pains that do not go away with treatment, a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable and, in severe cases, thoughts of suicide.

Scientists are understanding more and more that depression is a disease of the brain. While the neurotransmitters that act as chemical messengers in the brain certainly play a part in depression, some researchers believe that the inflammatory process is also pivotal, a columnist wrote in Psychology Today.

Effective treatment needs to recognize inflammation
When the immune system is working the way it should, inflammation is a process in which the body produces proteins known as cytokines, which target germs like cold and flu viruses. In fact, the symptoms associated with these infections – sneezing, fever, sore throat and so on – are actually a product of inflammation and not the viruses themselves, psychiatrist James M. Greenblatt, M.D., wrote in Psychology Today. Although inflammation is usually a helpful process, chronic inflammation has been tied to several illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.

Greenblatt pointed out that depression may be a condition in which inflammatory cytokines hurt the brain. To back this idea up, he noted various studies that showed how depressed individuals produce more cytokines than non-depressed people, how some anti-depressants reduce the amount of cytokines some patients produce, and how some depressed individuals respond better to antidepressants when they are combined with an anti-inflammatory agent.

"Individual, personalized understanding of inflammation and its contributions to the physiology of mood disorders is a critical, but often neglected component of integrative therapies for depression," Greenblatt wrote. "By neglecting the underlying cause of depression, recovery is less likely."

Until scientists get a better handle on addressing inflammation in depression, Greenblatt suggested that individuals make lifestyle adjustments that promote healthy inflammatory responses. This may include exercise as well as a regimen of omega-3 supplements. When it comes to the latter, Omax3 is the best choice because its manufacturing process removes all impurities, such as pollution and unhealthy saturated fats.