Surprising observations indicate that anti-inflammatory drugs dramatically improve the treatment of depression. Again, this track would indicate that depression would be a disease with a strong inflammatory component and that the fight with natural means: Mediterranean diet, omega 3, meditation, physical activity, known to lower the inflammatory state also lower the intensity and frequency of depression.
There is still a lot of prejudice against mood disorders like depression. While it is easy to sympathize with a person who shows outward signs of illness (fever, injury, fracture), it is sometimes more difficult to understand the seriousness of disorders that specifically affect a person’s brain, without apparent physical damage. .
We sometimes hear it said of a person who suffers from depression “that they just have to change their minds” or that they take advantage of their situation to “take a few weeks of vacation”, as if It was an imaginary disease, which one can easily confront with a little goodwill.
Yet depression is a true mental illness caused by an imbalance in the levels of certain neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin and dopamine.
These molecules carry information from one neuron to another and play a very important role in a host of mental processes such as attention, appetite, mood and motivation.
An imbalance of these neurotransmitters causes depressed people to often experience feelings of worthlessness or guilt, lack of interest in the outside world, disturbances in sleep or appetite, loss of energy and, in the most serious cases, morbid or suicidal thoughts.
When Inflammation-Promoting Drugs Trigger Depressions
Although the factors responsible for the development of depression remain poorly understood, several recent observations suggest that chronic inflammation could act as a trigger. A good example comes from studies of people affected by hepatitis: these patients are often treated with interferon, a drug that provokes a strong inflammatory response that helps eliminate the virus responsible for the infection. This treatment is very effective, but scientists have
However, a major side effect has been observed: between 30 to 40% of people treated develop severe depression, as if the sudden inflammation generated by the interferon reached the brain and disrupted the normal functioning of neurons.
The existence of a link between inflammation and depression is also suggested by studies showing that depressed people are at higher risk of being affected by heart disease or type 2 diabetes, two diseases that are known to have a strong inflammatory component.
Anti-inflammatories improve depression
The contribution of inflammation to the development of depression suggests that the use of anti-inflammatory agents could represent a new approach for the treatment of the disease.
And the results are very encouraging: a detailed analysis of a dozen studies involving more than 6,000 people with depression indicates that the addition of anti-inflammatory drugs to commonly used clinical anti-depressants increased dramatically (270 %) the rate of positive responses to treatment, without causing significant side effects.
This is a very important observation, as many depressed patients respond poorly to currently available antidepressants and very few new treatments have emerged in recent years.
Against chronic inflammation and depression: Mediterranean diet, physical activity, meditation,
Depression is therefore added to the long list of diseases caused by chronic inflammation, whether it is heart disease, type 2 diabetes or several types of cancer.
Like all cells in the body, the function of brain neurons is highly dependent on the biochemical environment of brain tissue and the creation of an inflammatory climate can only have negative repercussions on mental functions.
This contribution of inflammation also explains why a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet, supplementation with Omega 3, spices such as turmeric (curcumin) and pepper (piperine), regular physical activity which we often talk about in our columns as well as mediation, yoga, etc. are simple and effective ways to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, but also to improve mood and decrease frequency and intensity episodes of depression.
Kohler O et al. Effect of anti-inflammatory treatment on depression, depressive symptoms, and adverse effects: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. JAMA Psychiatry; 71: 1381-91.