Allergies Bringing Down the Mind: Immune System & Inflammation’s Link to Depression

A big mystery of my skyrocketing improvements over the last 6+ years is the corresponding fall into depression and mental breakdowns.  For the first time in my life, my skin isn’t falling off and always in pain.  I can breathe.  I can sleep.  I can eat…sometimes.  My condition is a million times better than I ever dreamed of, and yet I’m depressed and emotionally unstable.  A few years ago, a psychotherapist friend helped me understand it’s probably PTSD from 30+ years of survival.  I’m sure it was part of the puzzle, but I’ve always been a very positive person, much more so than people a fraction of my severity.

Susannah Cahalan (author of “Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness“) shared this Discovery article that answers some questions:

Depression’s Dance With Inflammation: Why the body’s natural protective response to injury, infection and stress may have unexpected emotional consequences.

“the role of inflammation in mental health might be more nuanced than once thought. It also helps make sense of other research suggesting that anti-inflammatory drugs may undermine depression treatment in some individuals. One recent analysis of more than 1,500 people found that those who took an anti-inflammatory drug along with an antidepressant were less likely to overcome their depression than those who only took an antidepressant.”

The improvements the last few years have been due to the immunosuppressants constantly having the effect of reducing inflammation, which seems to have similar effects as quoted.

 

Also,

“Now it seems like both the high and low levels could lead to depression: Yirmiya and his colleagues have done studies in mice for the past 20 years suggesting that a specific level of cytokines is needed to ward off symptoms of depression.

As Yirmiya points out, these molecules at normal levels have many important brain functions associated with learning, forming memories and making new neurons. So, what do we make of inflammation’s double-edged nature?”

Having been born with my condition, I suppose my brain had adapted to functioning on high levels of inflammation…now that’s changed and nothing feels right.

 

My condition is a form of allergies, but I don’t tell people that anymore.  My overactive immune, triggered by the slightest external sources, breaks down my body in very painful ways.  It’s not just the skin, which is what everyone sees, but also internally in my gastrointestinal tract, lungs, and even nervous system.  Allergies can affect your nervous system, eyes and brain?  Yes. I’m proof of that.


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