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?

Jonathan Arenburg
Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan is a mental health blogger, published author, and speaker. He has appeared in numerous newspapers and has been a guest on many podcasts.

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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


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 Arenburg is a mental health blogger, S speaker, writer, and published author; He is also the host of the mental wellness podcast, #thewellnesstalksHe has also appeared in the i'Mpossible's Lemonade Stand III. He has also been a contributing writer for Mental health talk, a column in his local paper. In addition, he has also written for the mental health advocacy organization; Sick Not Weak.Jonathan has also appeared on several mental health-related podcasts Including: A New Dawn, The Depression Files, Books and Authors, and Men Are Nuts. Since being put off work because of PTSD, Jonathan has dedicated his time to his mental wellness journey while helping others along the way.Educated as an addictions' counsellor, he has dedicated most of his professional life of eighteen years, working with those who have intellectual disabilities, behavioural challenges, and mental illness.He has also spent fifteen years in the volunteer fire service helping his community.His new book (2021), “The Road To Mental Wellness,” goes into detail about his life-long battle with depression, anxiety and more recently, PTSD. In it, he hopes to provide insight on how mental illness cultivates over a lifetime and, if not recognized and treated, how it impacts the entirety of one's life; right from childhood into the adult years. Jonathan lives with his two children in Nova Scotia, Canada.

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