The use of antidepressants is nothing new. One in 4 women (over age 40) and 1 in 10 Americans take prescription antidepressants. The use of these drugs continue to skyrocket. We live in a medical model that treats symptoms instead of identifying the cause of the symptoms. And why not if you only have 10-15 minutes with a patient that barely gives you enough time to have a real discussion.
This is why this article and many more studies are looking at the fact that an imbalance in neurotransmitters doesn’t just happen over night. There may be reasons such as infections and other sources of inflammation that may start this process of imbalance that eventually leads to fatigue, insomnia, loss of interest in things that once were pleasurable, irritability and change in appetite. These symptoms really do sound like an illness or a dis-ease.
The most common causes of inflammation are obesity (fat cells produce inflammatory chemicals), trans fats, unhealthy diets, allergies, lack of sleep as well as emotional trauma that raises inflammatory chemicals such as cytokines and C-reactive protein. No wonder this condition is a global epidemic!
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one type of mood disorder that is being researched. They are looking at pre and post exposure to war zones and why some soldiers are effected and others are not. Researchers have uncovered measurable differences in brain structure and function that appear to predict vulnerability to the disorder and have seen changes in the brain and the immune system that reinforce one another.
Perhaps those with a tendency towards inflammation (elevated inflammatory markers) have a higher risk of PTSD and depression if experiencing a physical (after a vaccine inoculation, viral infection or surgery) or emotional trauma (raised in an abusive environment, witnissing a fellow comrade get killed in battle) in which the immune system is involved.
There is a growing body of research connecting inflammation and psychiatric illnesses…especially depression. Researchers are hoping not only to treat but prevent PTSD as well as other forms of depression with dietary interventions, drugs based on curcumin (derived from turmeric) and certain immune stimulating vaccines.
Will we some day actually be able to cure depression? The research looks promising…
Reference: Velasquez-Manoff, M. Before The Trauma. Scientific American Mind. July/Aug 2015, pp. 56-63.