Impacts of Depression on Human Immune System

What is Depression?

Depression is a complex mental condition that is accompanied by a decrease in mood, a loss of the ability to experience joy, and a feeling of hopelessness. The impact of depression can extend not only to emotions and the psyche but also to the physical health of a person.

Depression and Immune Response

Fatigue, sleep disturbances, apathy, and even depressive states are all symptoms that often accompany infectious diseases, not only in humans but even in animals. The fact that mental disorders can be closely related to infection and the immune response to it, doctors have long guessed.

How does Depression Affect immunity?

There is a link between depression and increased immune system activity. So, in people with this disease, the presence of an inflammatory reaction has been established, during which neurotoxins are produced that destroy brain cells. This sets in motion a vicious cycle in which depression leads to inflammation that aggravates the depression.

Depression disrupts thinking and slows down human activity. Prolonged depression contributes to a decrease in the body’s defences, which leads to an exacerbation of chronic diseases. With increased psycho-emotional and physical stress in the human blood, the amount of immunoglobulins, proteins that are involved in the formation of immunity, decreases.

After a stressful situation, a sufficient concentration of immunoglobulins is restored only after 2-4 weeks. Also, in stressful situations, there is a decrease in the number of leukocytes that identify and destroy viruses and bacteria, and the production of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol increases. All this reduces the ability to destroy viruses and bacteria that have entered the body.

Weakening of the Immune System

A whole chain of events develops: an unfavourable factor causes a decrease in mood, which entails a weakening of the immune system and, as a result, the development of a disease or an exacerbation of a chronic illness.

Increase in Frequent Diseases

Depressive disorder upsets the balance of the immune system, which leads to frequent colds, the development of fatigue and chronic fatigue. And also, low immunity is manifested by pain in the muscles and joints, allergic reactions, exacerbation of chronic diseases.

Maintenance of Healthy State of Body

If we consider this issue from a scientific point of view, then the functioning of biochemical processes in the body is regulated by the nervous and humoral systems. The balance of these systems ensures a healthy state of the body.  Humoral regulation is a form of biological regulation in which information is transmitted with the help of biologically active substances that are carried throughout the body by blood, lymph, and intercellular fluid.

Depression as Natural Defence Mechanism

A number of scientists are of the opinion that depression could have arisen in ancient times as an aid to the natural defence mechanism because effective pharmaceutical preparations did not exist. During the manifestation of the disease, it corrects the patient’s behaviour, slows down his actions – and thanks to natural protection, it becomes easier to overcome the infection. Rest in nature, changing activities, getting new emotions, doing what you love, and meditating will help get rid of depression. If you cannot cope with depression on your own, you need to contact a specialist – a psychotherapist.

About Zahid Shaukat

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