Autoimmune Diseases Are Linked to Depression and Psychosis



There is a notion that autoimmune diseases increase the chances of people having depression and even psychotic conditions. This idea has been present for years. But it is only about a decade ago that scientists made a stride in this conversation. A previous Danish register study reported that autoimmune diseases lead to a 57% increase in subsequent risk of depression. But did you also know that depression could lead to autoimmune diseases such as lupus?

If you are depressed or anxious, you might find yourself in anautoimmune disease treatment center in Salt Lake City or other cities. A new study last year showed that women with a history of depression are two times more likely to develop systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Depression Can Cause Autoimmune Diseases

Existing evidence suggests that autoimmune diseases can trigger depression and psychotic tendencies. But new research showed that even people without autoimmune diseases but were, at some point, depressed can get a new diagnosis. The study was based on the data collected from the Nurses' Health Study I and II. It showed that of 194,483 cases, 145 tested positive for SLE. Out of those 145, almost half had a history of depression.

Andrea Roberts of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health led the study. She said that depression may be causing an increased risk of lupus and even other autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease and psoriasis. Depression, after all, causes biological inflammation, and this could cause the autoimmune disease.

But Roberts said that it was surprising how depression was associated with lupus almost directly because even smoking has such a low impact. Roberts and her team looked at a variety of factors-BMI, contraceptive use, smoking, alcohol intake, and diet-that might be affecting the link between women's depression and SLE. Some studies focused on depression as a probable early symptom of SLE.

This will help doctors and patients understand their conditions better. Doctors can screen a depressed patient for lupus. If there's a family history, it may even aid in the early detection of the disease. Some people are still skeptical of the effect of depression on lupus. But Roberts and her team are adamant that there's a big-time lag between depression and SLE.

Autoimmune Diseases Linked to Psychosis

There is a more popular notion that autoimmune diseases trigger depression and schizophrenia. While some doctors point to the neurological pathways that involve autoimmune mechanisms, there is also the belief that genetical, environmental, and internal changes can cause problems in the neuronal circuits. In some cases, this leads to psychosis.

Some studies show the genetic link between immune regulation and schizophrenia. Apparently, the genes that can be affected by an autoimmune disease could be the same ones that trigger psychotic episodes. But because such studies are unsubstantiated, the scientists refuse to recommend a treatment. They suggest that doctors should monitor their patients with autoimmune diseases because they may also be showing signs of psychosis.

These studies are important for people suffering from depression and autoimmune diseases. Having knowledge will help them and their families understand their conditions better. It will also open up avenues for early diagnosis and possible treatment methods.