Study Links Depression with Brain Inflammation

photo of business man holding his temples because his brain is hurting


A study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) discovered an interesting correlation between inflammation of the brain and depression.[1] This study has particular value to those struggling with substance abuse or mental health disorders. Every year, depression affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, age 18 years or older.[2] JAMA reports that it is also the leading cause of disability in the United States. In the constant progression towards understanding every aspect of depression, researchers are identifying factors that point to a relationship between depression and inflammation.Depression affects over 14 million US adults & is the leading cause of disability.

Brain Inflammation RatesThe study, which was conducted at the University of Toronto, was designed to better understand the interworkings of the brain and its link to depression. It is a well-known fact that depression and addiction are closely associated. Substance abuse can cause a variety of negative physical, mental and emotional side effects that can be detrimental and draining to an addict. Understanding the causes of depression can aid in its prevention and treatment.[3]

The study focused on 40 participants, 20 with depression and 20 without depression. Researchers discovered that depression patients had a 30 percent increase in brain inflammation, describing this discovery as the first significant evidence correlating the brain and this disorder.


The even more significant finding is that the patients with the most severe depression exhibited the highest levels of neuroinflammation, highlighting a definitive relationship between the two. This is a natural protectionist response by the brain to protect itself. However, too much brain inflammation may lead to a variety of physical ailments.

Patients with the most severe depression exhibited the highest levels of neuroinflammation. Inflammation is the immune system’s natural response to infection and disease. The body uses inflammation as a defense mechanism. For example, when an arm is sprained it becomes inflamed; this same principle also applies to the brain. However, too much inflammation can be destructive and damaging. These reverse side effects are what researchers are discovering with depression.

Depression is a disease to which no person is immune. Although there are times when any person may seem overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or fatigued, these feelings are usually short-lived. When these feelings persist, it’s usually a clear sign of depression. Depression interferes with daily life and causes both physical and mental pain. Some symptoms include irritability, suicidal thoughts, and feelings of helplessness or worthlessness.[4]


Depression, addiction, and suicide attempts

Addiction is an epidemic in the United States. From alcoholism to heroin, substances are becoming more readily available leading to more people becoming addicts. Addiction is a vicious cycle that leads an individual down a destructive path. Addicts use substances as an escape from reality or past traumatic events that may be plaguing their psyche. This temporary high is then followed by a low. This low, usually depression, then causes an individual to use again.

Addiction is a disease of the brain that affects the entire body, mind, and spirit. Dysfunction due to this is reflected in an individual’s futile pursuit of relief by abusing a substance. With the combination of depression and addiction, the suicide rates are 1 in 4.[5] This is one reason why it is imperative for those struggling with addiction and depression must receive treatment.

Greek Tragedy Masks

Treatment allows addicts to identify their triggers and learn how to implement coping skills when needed. Depression itself is often a common relapse trigger. Understanding what causes an individual to abuse a substance is the first step to achieving sobriety.

Many times, as soon as someone is diagnosed with depression, a physician’s initial reaction may be to prescribe an antidepressant such as Prozac or Zoloft. However, researchers are finding that this medication can be just a surface solution to a problem. Depression, much like addiction is an everyday struggle and requires constant monitoring and treatment. In many situations, merely taking an anti-depressant will only mask the issue, when further therapy is required.

Aspirin could be a new cost-effective and efficient type of treatment. A report from the Daily cites that instead of prescribing anti-depressants, aspirin could be a new cost-effective and efficient type of treatment.[6] Anti-depressants can cause a variety of health side effects such as fatigue, weight gain, defects to unborn children if taken during pregnancy, and an increased risk of suicide. If physicians prescribe less of these and instead instruct individuals to take other forms of medication, such as Aspirin, many of these side effects can be bypassed.


Addiction, closely associated with depression, is an issue that needs to be acknowledged and addressed for an individual to achieve sobriety. With millions of people in the United States in a constant war with their addiction, physicians, government officials and mental health workers must promote treatment centers and programs.

Individual casting a long shadowDue to the stigma associated with addictions, many addicts are hesitant about the repercussions from friends, family and society about entering a treatment facility. Although this stigma has lessened in recent years, many addicts would rather try to hide their addiction and stay in the shadows. On the contrary, family and friends are usually the most supportive of an individual in their pursuit of entering rehab.


At Seaside Palm Beach, we understand the realities that addicts are dealing with such as substance abuse and mental disorders like depression. Seaside Palm Beach is a luxury, state-of-the-art treatment facility whose treatment approach has already aided thousands in achieving sobriety.

Our all-inclusive recovery destination offers a wide range of innovative programs for our patients. We believe that our comprehensive, holistic approach to treatment aids in giving addicts the tools to cope with their addiction and achieve long-term sobriety. Seaside Palm Beach doctors create specialized care programs for each patient.
The success of our personalized approach is proven by the number of our patients that gain sobriety and remain sober once they leave the facility. Our luxurious accommodations, stunning views, world-class physicians and unique treatment programs are all aspects the lead to successful rehabilitation and gaining sobriety. For more information about Seaside Palm Beach and to learn more about our specialized treatment options, please call (888) 997-3274.


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