Depression: don’t separate the mind from the body!

Where does the brain end and the body begin? There’s no exact defining point, and so we should embrace mental health as being entwined with physical health, but the medical system tends to compartmentalise the two separately. A recent research document involving over 10,000 subjects suffering with depression:
“confirms the association of depression with high levels of CRP”
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a marker of inflammatory disease and is used to detect autoimmune disorders such as RA, Lupus and many others. The fact that CPR is elevated with those diagnosed with depression and debilitating disorders, such as ME and CFS, prove that these diseases are connected to a physical illness, and the focus of treatment should not be just on prescribing medications such as anti-depressants and anti-psychotics, as is often the case. Another study of PET scans, using a group of people diagnosed with serious depressive disorders, concludes that depression could be treated with anti-inflammatories instead of the harmful and often highly addictive drugs that are prescribed for mental health issues:
“The evidence for a link between depression and inflammation is quite compelling now, and there is also mounting evidence for a link between suicide and inflammation across a range of mental disorders,” explains Dr Peter Talbot, the lead investigator. “If we can learn more about these links, it may lead to more effective prevention or treatments of depression and suicidal thinking by targeting aspects of the inflammatory process.”
Significantly, the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ (published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and offers a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders), is no longer being used by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in America, Because they say the manual doesn’t provide any data or evidence about the cause of mental illnesses, including depression.
     
“The weakness of the manual is its lack of validity. Unlike our definition of Lymphoma or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measures. Patients with mental disorders deserve better.” — Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of NIMH
  In the UK, it would appear that the NHS follows the NICE guidelines (2011) regarding diagnosing and treating mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, but nowhere in those guidelines can we see any suggestions of running basic inflammatory blood tests to rule out underlying disease and infections. In fact, the guidelines admit that psychotropic medicines are routinely used before other alternatives are considered:
“The most common method of treatment for common mental health disorders in primary care is psychotropic medication. This is due to the limited availability of psychological interventions, despite the fact that these treatments are generally preferred by patients.”
Gross negligence is the only conclusion that I can draw. That and greed-driven marketing from pharmaceutical companies. In her book, ‘A Mind of Her Own’, Dr Kelly Brogan criticises conventional medicine for its “medicalisation of distress”, where the pharmaceutical industries drive for profit through marketing influences practitioners’ decisions – such as the gung-ho prescribing of antidepressants, frequently carrying dire consequences.

So what are the common causes of inflammation in the body and how do we diagnose them?

Infection

In my experience, depression can come hand-in-hand with infectious diseases, but that is likely to be the last thing your GP will seek. Analysing your recent health history may give some clues. Remembering a tick bite many years ago was mine, but you may have had a viral infection such as EBV, or been travelling and exposed to stomach bugs such as amoebic dysentery, e-coli etc. EBV is directly associated with autoimmune conditions (and inflammation) as it and other viruses are regulated by part of our immune system known as CD8+T cells. Estrogen decreases CD8+ T cells, which explains the higher incidence of autoimmunity in females. Bioresonance testing will pick up on infections and can also indicate what may help control inflammation caused by infection.

Gut Dysbiosis

Gut health is frequently linked to depression, and an imbalance in good bacteria can, further down the line, be a causative link to many serious diseases. Improving gut health is a no-brainer, and this starts with diet. Adding probiotics, of which there are many different options, may be necessary but finding the correct ones is the key. Discovering that histamine can cause the body to react negatively to many strains of probiotics was a great step towards calming down autoimmune conditions for me. For this reason, probiotics should be taken with caution. If you have histamine issues or mast cell disorder, do some homework before purchasing probiotics.

Thyroid Dysfunction

Long term gut dysbiosis is linked to autoimmunity, as is thyroid dysfunction. The most common form for women is hypothyroidism (see my blog post on thyroid disorders). Estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels must be in balance for serotonin levels to be regulated. These are useful tests to run as well as the thyroid panel. Unfortunately the thyroid panel run by most GPs will not include T3, which is the active form of thyroid hormone. This is how so many women remain undiagnosed. T3 must be converted (from T4) by the liver, so a liver dysfunction can indirectly lead to hormonal problems which, in turn, can cause depression. It may be necessary to order a private test kit, to provide a comprehensive study of hormone activity. Frequently, women in 21st century Western culture suffer from estrogen dominance after their 30s, and estrogen dominance is associated with autoimmunity and virus infections (indirectly, its complicated) because of estrogen’s ability to reduce CD8, thereby reducing the immune system’s ability to fight infections. The problem is, the thyroid is notoriously difficult to test accurately, even with a full and comprehensive panel. I have relied on bioresonance, as well as conventional testing, to establish a more accurate and holistic picture of what is occurring.

Toxicity

If you’ve heard of the term “mad as a hatter”, it refers to the days when people would work in felting factories making hats. They worked with mercury and, consequently, suffered horrific mental health disorders. Mercury is a neuro-toxin that is still used in the UK in amalgam dental fillings. It is said to contribute towards a variety of health problems. Mercury can indirectly cause mineral deficiencies and this, over time, can lead to thyroid problems. It is a mystery why it’s still used, despite its reputation as a dangerous material. Other toxins can be environmental, such as myco-toxins (mould) in the home. A relatively high percentage of the population has a genetic disposition towards suffering from mycotoxin poisoning or biotoxin illness/chronic inflammatory response disorder (CIRS). Match that with a mouldy environment, and you’re likely to find someone suffering a form of brain inflammation and/or depression. As you can see, the pathogenesis of depression can be varied, but it seems to be more common with women. When you consider that 78% of autoimmune conditions affect women, it is easy to establish the connection between autoimmunity and estrogen, as well as estrogen dominance and depression. Balancing hormones could be the answer in many cases of depression. However, when hormonal imbalances have become chronic (long term), then health problems become more complicated. My next article will be about autoimmunity. We are witnessing a frightening increase in this issue, with little support and understanding within the medical community. What are the causative factors, and what we can do about it?  

Further reading:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/articles/27337107/   https://www.optimallivingdynamics.com/blog/13-important-blood-tests-to-get-done-if-you-have-depression   http://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223(17)31857-7/fulltext   https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg123/chapter/Introduction   https://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/wellbeing/the-connection-between-inflammation-and-depression-explained-1.667199   https://www.optimallivingdynamics.com/gut-bacteria-references    

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