Is depression causing damage to your brain?

2_depressed-woman-400x400Depression could be more serious than previously thought.  This is because a new study has shown some cases of depression may involve damage to the brain.

This study showed that 54.1% of people with depression had autoimmunity against their brain tissue (serotonin receptors) while only 5.7% of non-depressed had autoimmunity against their brain tissue.
Again,the damage occurs in the form of an autoimmune attack against your serotonin receptors.  Autoimmune attacks are when your immune systems produces white blood cells that attack and destroy your own tissue, in this case brain tissue.  Specifically, your serotonin receptors become damaged in this condition.

Serotonin in your brain is known as your happy mood chemical and low serotonin levels have been correlated with depression and other mood disorders.  The most common treatment for depression is anti-depressant medications.  Most medications act to move serotonin from one part of the brain to another and can provide symptomatic relief but also can have substantial side effects.  What medication will not do is fix this problem if present.  Why does this matter?  Because if you have autoimmunity against your brain (serotonin receptors) and take a pill to mask your depression symptoms, you will have done nothing to stop the underlying damage to your brain that is occurring from the autoimmune attack.  In my opinion, and many others in healthcare, standard management of depression (medications) does little to treat the cause or fix the problem.

In functional medicine we take a cause-based approach to depression.  If you see my video here, you can learn more about what the most common causes of depression are.   The good news is if you have depression with autoimmunity the functional medicine approach has shown excellent results with stopping the autoimmune process.  It is possible to be depression free and feel great without medications.

Click here to read study Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
J Affect Disord. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source 2012 Feb;136(3):386-92. Epub 2011 Dec 12.

PMID:   22166399

I hope this info helps,
Dr. Michael Ruscio
[email protected]  (925) 705-7454

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