depression and inflammation

Depression and Inflammation: What You Need To Know

Ask your psychiatrist if inflammation could be contributing to your depression…

depression and inflammation

In the last few years there has been an increased interest in the link between depression and inflammation. More and more research has been done to understand depression better and find other ways to combat it besides using antidepressant medications. Depression is the most widely spread cause of disability in the world, and these medications do not always work for everybody.


Inflammatory Disorders and Depression

One of the many things pointing to the relationship between depression and an inflammatory process is the fact that depression is frequently associated with other inflammatory disorders such as autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes and cancer.

Another important finding is that inflammatory markers are associated with major depressive disorder (MDD). One in five persons with cardiovascular diseases experiences MDD. Up to 70% of patients with autoimmune disorders experience MDD. About 15-20 % of cancer patients also have depression. Diabetes doubles up the rate of depression. Many meta-analyses studies show that individuals with MDD have significant increase in inflammatory markers like TNF-alfa and IL-6.


Stress and Inflammation

Since depression can develop in the absence of other inflammatory diseases, one theory is that stress (acute and chronic) is associated with the increased availability of proinflammatory citokines. Psychological stress can activate inflammation; however, depressed patients have difficulty controlling the body’s inflammatory response to stress. When the inflammatory pathway is initiated, a cascade of reactions results that decreases the serotonin level and boosts the glutamatergic response; thus creating depressive symptoms.


How Does This Apply to Depression Treatment?
  1. This medication helps decrease immunotherapy-induced depression, reduce the inflammatory response, and lower the pro-inflammatory factors.
  2. Stress Management. Managing stress effectively and proactively decreases inflammation.
  3. Healthy Diet. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits and Omega 3 is helpful in reducing inflammation.
  4. Exercise. Aerobic exercise has a well-documented impact on reducing inflammation and acts as one of the best destressors.

If you like this article on Depression and Inflammation, or have questions, schedule your first session by calling us at 713.426.3100.

  1. Depression and Inflammation: Examining the link: Maria Almond, MD, MPH Current Psychiatry, vol 12, no 6, 25-32.