By Justin Cowart
We all know that, depending on the severity and level of inflammation, it can take a huge toll on your quality of life. Inflammation can stop you from doing many things that you love, especially if it has affected your joints.
What Is Inflammation?
Stop for a moment and visualize what happens when you get a splinter or shard embedded into your finger; the tissue around it starts to puff up and turn red. That, my friends, is inflammation hard at work.
Inflammation is your immune system essentially rushing as much help to the affected area as possible to fight off any potential bacteria or viruses that could have gotten inside of your body.
Though this reaction is natural and can be lifesaving, it can also get out of hand and cause you a number of other problems, one of those possibly being depression.
What Is Depression?
According to the manual DSM-5 (a manual that is currently being used to diagnose all mental disorders), depression occurs in individuals who have a minimum of 5 of the following symptoms at the exact same time:
- Being in a depressed state/mood during most of the day, especially in the morning
- Loss of energy/fatigue
- Feel a sense of worthlessness or guilt
- Indecisiveness and impaired concentration
- Hypersomnia or insomnia
- Large reduction in pleasure or interest in just about all activities
- Recurring thoughts of suicide or death
- A strong sense of restlessness
- Rapid weight gain or loss
Co-author of the study, Fagundes, ascertained that chronic inflammation is found most commonly in individuals who have experienced some form of stress, neglect or even abuse in their lives. There are always other possible contributing factors such as having a high-fat diet or being overweight as well.
The results of the study were able to conclude that depression that is caused by chronic inflammation tends to be very resistant to normal therapy methods, but with proper exercise and other physical activities such as yoga, it can be helped very effectively.
Fagundes, co-author of the paper and assistant professor of psychology, said,
“Previous research shows that individuals who have socio-economic issues or had problems in their early lives are already at higher risk for mental issues because of these stresses in their lives. As a result, they often experience a higher occurrence of chronic inflammation, which we have linked to depression.”
Fagundes strongly hopes that this study will be able to shed much needed light on just how dangerous bodily inflammation can be and show people what they can do to put the power of their lives back into their own hands.
Fagundes goes on to say,
“This is your immune system working to kill that pathogen, which is a good thing. However, many individuals exhibit persistent systemic inflammation, which we’re finding is really the root of all physical and mental diseases. Stress, as well as poor diet and bad health behaviors, enhances inflammation.”
Already underway, Fagundes has started a five-year #3.7 million bereavement study that is focused on examining just how inflammation impacts depression and even depression among people who have lost a close relative or significant other, in hopes to find other ways to help bereaved older adults.
If you are someone who has experienced any form of depression or inflammation, just know that even though you can’t really see it in that moment, you are never alone and the light at the end of the tunnel is burning as bright as ever.
As always, if you are seeking help, we here at fitlife always have a shoulder for you to lean on and an ear to listen if you need it. We would love to hear about your experiences dealing with inflammation and depression in the comments below.
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