Depression is more than a mental disorder, it affects the body’s ability to detoxify itself.
It should be seen as a systematic disease that affects the whole body, argues a new study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
Accepting that depression affects the whole body could help explain why people experiencing depression are more likely to suffer from cancer, cardiovascular disease and to die younger.
All of these problems can be combated, however, by the usual treatments for depression: talk therapy and/or medication.
The conclusions come from examining the results of 29 previous studies.
These looked at how depression affected the bodies of 3,961 people in different ways.
The studies consistently found that depression was linked to oxidative stress in the body.
Oxidative stress refers to an imbalance in the body which hurts its ability to get rid of toxic substances.
The researchers found that after normal treatment, the body recovers relatively quickly.
After successful treatment, the bodies of people who were formerly depressed are virtual indistinguishable from healthy people in terms of oxidative stress.
The study was published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Jiménez-Fernández et al., 2015).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Depression image from Shutterstock