Want to battle back against depression and reclaim your life? You can start today by treating your inflammation.
Researchers are beginning to discover a link between inflammatory disorders and psychiatric disorders, including depression.
The Tie Between Depression and Inflammation
The complete picture of the relationship between depression and inflammation is unknown at this time. What is known is that depression is not an inflammatory disorder.
While research has found a large concentration of people who have depression and inflammatory markers, it is not a blanket condition. This means that inflammation does not cause depression.
According to an article in the Psychiatric Times, this new understanding is the beginning of a new pathway for the treatment of depression.
That said, there may be a direct connection between treating inflammation and alleviating depression. It is likely this will be a part of mental illness treatment plans in the future.
If you’d like to be proactive and try to treat inflammation in your body, the tips listed below can help you get ahead of the curve. It’s important to recognize that depression is a serious illness and does require the help of a medical health professional.
Chronic vs. Acute Inflammation
It’s key to note that when discussing inflammation in this context, we’re referring to chronic inflammation, not acute inflammation.
Acute inflammation occurs when there is tissue damage or a microbial invasion, like a sprained ankle or pneumonia. This type of inflammation becomes severe almost instantly and typically only lasts a few days.
Chronic inflammation is a slow, long-term inflammation that lasts for a very long time. It is deeply affected by the initial cause of inflammation and the body’s ability to recover.
Diseases associated with chronic inflammation include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, joint disease, and allergies.
How to Treat Inflammation
There are no tests for chronic inflammation, but if you suspect this is an issue, the following may help you reduce inflammation. It is always a good idea to discuss any lifestyle changes with your physician so that you can devise the best, most effective treatment plan for you.
The first step in changing your diet to relieve inflammation is to stop or cut back on your consumption of sugars, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, trans fats, and processed meats.
The next step is to replace those foods with whole foods that are nutrient dense and packed full of antioxidants. Following a typical Mediterranean diet can be a great starting point.
Curcumin is found in the spice turmeric. It’s known to be a great tool in the fight against inflammation, especially for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Adding turmeric to your foods can help, but the amount of curcumin in turmeric is actually quite small. This is why a high-quality curcumin/turmeric supplement is recommended to reap the benefits of curcumin.
Just 20 minutes of exercise a day may help reduce your inflammation issues. A study found that exercise releases a hormone in the body called catecholamine, which may have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Being overweight brings with it a number of health risks and problems; one of those problems is inflammation. An article in Science Daily outlines research from the University of Oslo that suggests that overeating increases the body’s immune response.
Since inflammation is a part of the immune response, it’s believed that overeating and being overweight are key players in chronic inflammation.
Stress is a very interesting and complex part of life. Some forms of stress are actually good, but when stress becomes prolonged or chronic, the flood of cortisol in the body creates inflammation and an immune response that can lead to other problems.
It’s not uncommon for stress and depression to work hand-in-hand in the human body and for there to be increased expression of cytokines, a marker of inflammation.
Managing your stress through exercise, breathing techniques, proper diet, rest, and other relaxation methods can go a long way toward reducing stress and inflammation.
Reduce Toxins and Allergens
Your body responds similarly to toxins and allergens, both cause an immune response that prompts inflammation. Cut down on your exposure to products and foods that cause these responses, and your body will immediately reward you with less inflammation.
Medical Intervention for Inflammation
Not all inflammation, especially chronic inflammation, can be managed homeopathically and without medical intervention. If this is the situation you find yourself in, your doctor may recommend some of the following as part of your treatment plan.
♦ Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. They are over-the-counter medications, but their long-term use has significant health risks, so it’s best to consult a physician before using these medications as an option.
♦ Steroids and corticosteroids are often prescribed for people with overactive immune systems, as they suppress the immune system and decrease inflammation.
♦ Statins are typically used to treat high cholesterol, but they’ve also been found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It’s possible that your doctor may prescribe statins for your inflammation or depression.
♦ Targeted disease treatment is required when your physician can narrow down the cause of your chronic inflammation. There are many different medications that have been found effective for different diseases that cause inflammation. Following this course of treatment is best for your underlying illness and associated inflammation.
Waking Up To Wellness
Taking control of your life by managing inflammation through food, exercise, stress relief, and controlling your exposure to triggers can have incredible benefits for your mental health, especially if you have concerns about depression.
These external forces are known to cause inflammation in the body, and many people who have a mental illness also experience chronic inflammation.
While taking proactive steps is a great way to take charge and make positive changes, it’s also a good idea to seek medical advice regarding any mental illness. Inflammation does not cause depression, but it can be very closely tied to it for many people.
With a two-pronged approach of doing what you can and seeking a medical professional, you can get your depression under control and enjoy life to its fullest.