Mental Vs. Physical

Research evidence shows that the generally accepted notion of the dichotomy between mental and physical illnesses is false, and that a mixture of genes, environment, and social circumstances influence virtually all diseases. There is evidence for example for an epidemiological link between depressive disorders and asthma, heart diseases, cancer, arthritis, obesity, and diabetes1.

Chronic stress results in the release of stress hormones harmful to brain cells, particularly in a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which normally regulates the release of these hormones, whose release increases with this regulation compromised due to damage to the hippocampus, causing even more damage.

Left unchecked the result is damage to multiple organs in the body, with the consequences of what we might consider simply depression possibly including increased clotting risk, brittle bones, arthritis, increased risks of heart attacks, and proneness to stroke and to infections, in the affected individuals. Should we therefore not take depression seriously, and seek its prompt and appropriate diagnosis and treatment?

1. Chapman DP, Perry GS, Strine TW. The vital link between chronic disease and depressive disorders. Prev Chronic Dis. 2005 Jan;2 (1):A14. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2005/jan/04_0066.htm.