Could Depression Be Caused by Inflammation in the Body?

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Could Depression Be Caused by Inflammation in the Body?

The phrase “mind-body connection” isn’t a new one, but lately it has taken on new meaning, meaning that holds promise for depression treatment. Recent headlines highlighting new scientific studies show a connection between inflammation and depression; when inflammation is present, depression symptoms increase, but when inflammation decreases, so does depression.

These early findings are tentative, but there is enough evidence now to say that there is indeed a cause-effect relationship between the two. Therefore, studies will continue regarding how to approach and treat depression.

So what does inflammation have to do with depression? Inflammation is caused by an overactive immune system that thinks there’s a threat, so it triggers an inflammatory response throughout the body. The brain is part of the body, and neurologists have learned that nerve cells in the brain are directly linked to immune function. It’s been found that when there’s inflammation present, people experience low mood, hopelessness, and fatigue—hallmark symptoms of depression.

Interestingly, studies that began a decade ago are showing that there is also a link between inflammation and schizophrenia. These studies are gaining ground and impacting how psychiatrists think about schizophrenia treatment.

This new discovery of the link between inflammation and mental illness can lead to increased understanding and new, safer and more effective treatments.

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Today's Question:Popular reactions to the news of the link between depression and inflammation are mixed. What are your own thoughts? We invite you to participate by sharing your thoughts, knowledge, and experiences on the HealthyPlace Facebook page and on the HealthyPlace Google+ page.

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APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2017, September 25). Could Depression Be Caused by Inflammation in the Body?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Last Updated: September 27, 2017

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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