Depression and the Immune System: A Close Connection

Depression and the Immune System: A Close Connection

As I look into the connection between Depression and the Immune System I find a lot of words like may, might and possibly, but there are a lot of studies and research being done between depression and physical symptoms and illness.

Here are some common physical symptoms of Depression:

FATIGUE Depression related fatigue can cause concentration problems, irritability, apathy—that “just don’t care feeling.

People with depression seem to have a decreased tolerance to pain.

Chronic tension headaches, backaches and overall muscle aches can be symptoms

of psychological stress.

VISION Does everything appear grey? Not a clear distinction between black and white?

Could be a symptom like “Having the blues” or Depression.

Just as overweight/obesity can over stress, thus weaken the immune system INFLAMATION may have an effect on “neurociruits” in the brain which may have something to do with depression. Like I said, there a a lot of studies being done.

If you are experiencing any of these physical symptoms including chronic stomach aches or pain, talk to your doctor and maybe you’ll decide together that a Depression Screening is in order.

Signs of a weakened IMMUNE SYSTEM:

  • Chronic fatigue (tired all the time).
  • Frequent infections (minor or that need antibiotics).
  • Wounds are slow to heal.
  • You catch colds frequently.
  • Your stress level is sky high.
  • Chronic or frequent stomach problems (cramps, bloating, potty problems)

They say your stomach is your “second brain”; it tells us a lot when it’s not happy, doesn’t it? Listen to it!

STUDIES. Chronic stress raises a stress hormone called cortisol which negatively effects mycroglia cells which protect healthy nerve cells. Once compromised they make cytokines which are pro-inflammatory proteins. There’s that NEMESIS INFLAMATION again. Inflammation damages synapses to the brain including the regions controlling mood and emotions. To me this kind of concurs up a scenario of a Military operation where we have the good guys, Navy Seals and Army Rangers, out there doing their jobs; protecting strategic assets (our minds and bodies). And we have enemy operators (INFLAMATION) fouling up the whole purpose of the mission (our physical and mental wellbeing).

Here are some symptoms of the approach of the enemy INFLAMATION: Acute and Chronic: Credit here Dr. Shmerling, Harvard Medical School & Publishing

“Acute inflamation is how your body fights infections and helps speed up the healing process. In this way Inflamation is good because it protects the body”. This process works the same when you have a virus like a cold or the flu. Chronic Inflamation is when; “From the body’s perspective, it’s under consistent attack, so the immune system keeps fighting indefinitely” says Dr. Schmerling.

And again, a great example of that is being overweight and having too much visceral fat cells; the fat that surrounds your organs (that includes your heart). The immune system may see these cells as a threat and attack them. The longer one stays fat the longer the body stays in a state of inflammation. I think we can see by now that chronic inflamation weakens the immune system and makes us more vulnerable to disease, both physical and mental. Talk to your doctor; there are tests available to detect chronic inflamation. Dr. Schmerling leaves us with this: “It goes back to the basics; maintaining a healthy weight, choosing a good diet, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising regularly”.

This entire Bio-World is fascinating, complicated and complex. There are countless studies, never ending research and trials. I delve into them to extract information I hope is helpful such as these relationships between Depression, Inflamation and the Immune System.

Finally; Just because it’s all natural and you can buy it over the counter (OTC) you need to be careful. A lady in her 60s became concerned over her increasingly “senior moments” so started taking Vitamin E and ginkgo balboa (OTC); good for memory. Now if the recommended dose doesn’t work, double up right? Of course she didn’t know that taking that along with her prescription blood thinner would land her in the hospital with a bleeding stomach ulcer. If you are taking prescription medicines check with your health care provider to make sure they interact well with your self prescribed OTC remedies,

Be Safe, Be Well and Believe in Hope For Mental Illness