Depression – an inflammatory disease?

Depression – an inflammatory disease? Could this prove once and for all that depression is not someone being lazy or ungrateful? Rather, that they are suffering?

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Last Sunday, I was invited to speak about my wellness journey. The wonderful people who asked me to speak were from the LEAD project – a mental health organization in Nigeria that helps people with depression. An amazing bunch, making a real difference in their corner of the world.

Today, I want to give a general rundown of depression, and prove to you that yes, it is indeed real. Not only is it real, but it’s also pervasive, painful and for many, untreatable. A sad and tortuous reality for millions around the world. Furthermore, it doesn’t care what you think of it; if it latches hold of you, you will become a believer – guaranteed.

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Firstly, there is no country on earth that is immune from depression’s effects – none. If there is a belief within a culture that doesn’t believe it’s a serious medical condition, just know that your people are suffering in silence – a sad place to leave anyone. Moreover, depression has little to do with culture and everything to do with neurobiology.

In other words, we may have diverse ways in which we live our lives, but how our brains work? Well, that’s not that different. While I know this is hard for some people to accept, please, know that our brain function can, like any other organ become ill. So, take care of those you love…

So, what is depression? Depression is a mental-health disorder consisting of low mood and the following.

Depression – Here’s the rundown.
  • Changes in sexual function or desire
  • Changes in appetite
  • Exhaustion/Poor sleep
  • Even back pain
  • Sad/empty/feeling worthless

For more go check here.

In crisis? Go to Crisis Services Canada

A great question I get asked a lot is: is there more than one type of depression? The short answer is “yes,” and I will list them below.

Types of depression:
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Dysthymic Depression
  • Treatment Resistant Depression
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Manic Depression

For more details on the types of depression, go here

With so many diverse types, it can be hard to discern which one might be plaguing someone. Nonetheless, they still need your support and understanding. You may be the one who makes the difference.

What are the causes of depression?

A chemical imbalance

While it’s not entirely known what causes depression, there are a few suspected factors that may be responsible. One of the most common thoughts around its cause is that it is a chemical imbalance of brain. These brain chemicals, called serotonin and norepinephrine are thought to be dysregulated, and therefore, responsible for the symptoms. Low mood, a feeling of constant sadness, exhaustion etc.

Genetic factors

It has long been thought that depression runs in families, and science has been working hard to figure this angle out. For example, scientists have isolated a gene that appears to be present in family members with depression. More here


The world presents us with many reasons to fall to depression – and therefore, it makes sense that there are factors surrounding us that increase the odds of illness. Some examples are the loss of a loved one, or the closure of a business, or a pandemic; all of these can lead to depression.

Depression – an inflammatory disease?

Second, in cases of major depressive disorder (MDD) inflammation of the brain is suspected. These findings are relatively new. However, they paint a picture for many. Many people have a good grasp of what inflammation is – therefore, we can use it as an example to demonstrate that depression, does indeed have a physiological component. In fact, some research goes as far as to suggest that depression is an inflammatory disease.

Other things that have been proven effective.

  • Clean diet
  • Exercise
  • Self-care
  • Mindfulness
  • Integration with nature
  • Therapy
  • Education

To learn more about inflammation and depression go here


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Treatment for depression varies depending on type and severity. But generally speaking, depression is treated with Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) drugs that help boost the serotonin levels in the brain and thereby boost one’s mood. It should be noted that, while these drugs often get a bad rap from the general population, they have helped countless people manage their depression.

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The Effectiveness of SSRIs

While depression is often viewed as something people can just “get over,” the science clearly tells us the truth. An inflammatory disease? It would appear so. Additionally, science has been able to show a correlation between low levels of serotonin and other brain chemicals. Therefore, the only thing I can conclude from the evidence is that depression and other mental health disorders have a physiological origin. They are REAL! In other words, it’s not just in your head. Rather, it’s what’s in your head that needs healing.

Did you like reading Depression – an inflammatory disease? Checkout When Depression Speaks

Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan Reginald-Nixon Arenburg (Born January 14, 1976) is a Canadian mental health blogger, speaker, and published author. Retired from the fire service and long-term care fields, he has written and self-published an autobiographical account of his life-long battle with anxiety, depression and more recently, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Titled, The Road To Mental Wellness, he wrote it for what he calls “therapeutic release.” He published it in hopes it would help others going through similar mental health conditions. The sales of The Road To Mental Wellness have been steady selling over 300 copies since its release on October 10, 2021(World Mental Health Day). Arenburg has also been involved in a collaborative publication Called Lemonade Stand Volume III, a book featuring 20 authors who bravely tell their stories of PTSD. All authors where from the military and or emergency services. Published by Joshua Rivedal and Kathleen Myers for the i’Mpossible project, a mental health advocacy organization. Jonathan has also appeared on several mental health podcasts including The Depression Files, A New Dawn, and The Above Ground Podcast Arenburg has also consulted with the Government of Nova Scotia and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the Honorable Brian Comer and Candidates for the New Democratic Party of Canada, on improving the mental health care system in Canada. Additionally, Jonathan was recognized in The Nova Scotia Legislature by the Honorable, Chris Palmer, Kings-North MLA, for his Book, The Road To Mental Wellness, his fight to make the mental health care system better. In addition, Chis acknowledged the support he gives to others.

3 thoughts on “Depression – an inflammatory disease?

  1. Fascinating article, I will look further into the correlation of depression and other mental illnesses being related to inflammatory disease. Thanks for sharing.

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