“Researchers found that patients with an autoimmune disease were 45 percent more likely to have a mood disorder, while any history of infection increased the risk of a mood disorder by 62 percent. About one-third of people diagnosed with a mood disorder had been hospitalized in the past for a serious infection.
Inflammation is the body’s protective response to an infection, while autoimmune disorders are inflammatory conditions caused by the body’s overreaction to naturally occurring substances and tissues.
The associations found in this study suggest that autoimmune diseases and infections are important…factors in the development of mood disorders in subgroups of the patients possibly because of the effects of inflammatory activity,” the researchers wrote.
The new study offers insight into the mechanism of common mood disorders, including depression and bipolar disorder, and may help guide treatment and prevention efforts
Researchers compared the incidence of infections like sepsis, hepatitis, and urinary tract infections, as well as autoimmune disorders like lupus, anemia, Celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease, with the incidence of bipolar disorder, depression, psychotic depression, and other mood disorders.
They found a strong correlation between infection, autoimmune disorders, and mood disorders, strengthening the hypothesis that depression is directly linked to inflammation
Earlier this year, another team of Danish researchers published a study in JAMA Psychiatry showing that elevated levels of a C-reactive protein—which the body produces in response to inflammation—in the blood are associated with an “increased risk for psychological distress and depression in the general population.”
I know I have an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I know it’s often mistaken for bipolar. My mother and sister and one of her children has celiac disease. My mother and sister has had a lot of mood issues before they went gluten free and took care of the thyroid dysfunction and they’ve not been so crazy to deal with. Either that, or I just don’t know because I limit my contact with them.
I know I struggled with moods, for various reasons in the past 10 years, but in part because of hormonal changes after having three daughters in 3.5 years and part due to stressful events that I think triggered Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
I think it’s really important that people who are struggling with depression and moods know that there might be an underlying inflammatory response that is driving the mood issue.
I know I was getting very sick all the time in the winter of 2012 (not just head colds, but a horrible sinus infection and multiple rounds of stomach viruses) probably because I was always substitute teaching in classrooms where there has been a lot of sick kids and teachers and my moods were pretty much all over the place.
Earlier in 2013, I had more blood work done. My thyroid levels seemed to be normal, but my vitamin D3 levels were low so the doctor told me to start taking D3 supplements. I also know that instead of taking synthroid, my endocrinologist also suggested I start taking 200 mg selenium, which is known to be a critical component of healthy thyroid function. I haven’t been as nearly as sick as I was in 2012 and while I do have some mood issues, they aren’t nearly as bad as they used to be. I also don’t notice my neck swelling up like it used to (a sign that my thyroid is inflamed).
I’m thinking more and more that some, maybe many, mood issues can be alleviated if the underlying inflammation issues are healed. I wanted to share this in case you or someone you know struggles with depression and mood issues, too.