Not all in the mind: A Physical Cause for Depression

Posted: March 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

The malaise theory of depression

New research suggests that major depressive disorder is about the body and not the brain

Findings suggest that depression is a ‘normal’ brain’s response to an abnormal body state; and that antidepressants help lift depression due to the same analgesic effect that is utilised when they are prescribed for chronic physical pain.

MDD (major depressive disease) appears to be generated by abnormalities in cytokines.  These are the chemicals released in inflammatory and autoimmune disorders — they are the “feelbad factor” responsible for the malaise we experience when suffering from flu.   When a person becomes clinically depressed, it now appears that an inflammatory or autoimmune process in the body is triggering the release of cytokines, with the result that the flu-like malaise is present all the time.  It is now being realised that when antidepressants work, it is through analgesic action on the cytokine-generated malaise.

So this would seem to explain why some patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia feel better on antidepressants (another reason why they might, is because drugs such as amitriptyline apparently can flog a sluggish thyroid back into service for a while, so reducing many of the symptoms of any  underlying hypothyroidism.) 

So when antidepressants seem to help a “fibromyalgia” patient, this should act as a red flag to doctors to check for autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

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