A study in the American Journal of Psychiatry studied the link between inflammation and depression. “One thing that we’re particularly interested in is how stress affects the immune system, which in turn affects diseases and mental health outcomes,” said one of the co-authors of the paper.
The authors found that in addition to being linked to numerous physical health issues, including cancer and diabetes, systemic inflammation is linked to mental health issues such as depression. They found that chronic inflammation is most common in individuals who have experienced stress in their lives, including lower socio-economic status or those who experienced abuse or neglect as children. Other contributing factors are a high-fat diet and high body mass index.
According to the study, it is normal for humans to have an inflammatory response — such as redness — to an area of the body that is injured. Stress, as well as poor diet and bad health behaviors, enhances inflammation.”
The study also found that depression caused by chronic inflammation is resistant to traditional therapy methods, but can be treated with activities such as yoga, meditation NSAIDS, and exercise.
For more information, read the full study.