Is There a Link Between CIDP and Psychiatric Disorders?
The link between CIDP and psychiatric disorders may be both ways and not as simple as we once thought.
By Shiraz Abbas
When we think of autoimmune inflammatory disorders and their link to our mental health, we commonly think that mental health arises as a response to stress that physical pain causes. However, we seldom think how mental health and psychiatric problems may lead to chronic inflammatory disorders like CIDP. In fact, around 70% to 80% of people with chronic inflammatory disorders also have psychiatric disorders.
A study as recent as 2019 suggests the following:
Neuropsychiatric disorders (i.e., mood disorders and schizophrenia) and inflammation are closely intertwined, and possibly powering each other in a bidirectional loop. Depression facilitates inflammatory reactions and inflammation promotes depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Patients with neuropsychiatric disorders exhibit all cardinal features of inflammation, including increased circulating levels of inflammatory inducers, activated sensors, and inflammatory mediators targeting all tissues. Inflammation may contribute to the pathophysiology and clinical progression of these disorders.
It seems that mental health issues, and indeed mental and emotional disorders can power chronic inflammatory responses in the body. These not only include schizophrenia and bi-polar disorders, but also depression, anxiety.
This study is interesting because it also says the relationship is bi-directional, meaning that there may be a vicious circle involved where mental and mood disorders affect chronic inflammatory responses on the one hand, and chronic inflammatory conditions can also trigger psychiatric problems on the other end.
For example, as the Psychiatric Times relates, chronic inflammation can alter brain structure and allow for psychiatric problems to arise:
First, that inflammatory processes induce changes in brain/body functioning that can contribute to the development of a wide range of psychiatric conditions. Inflammation is an equal opportunity risk factor, with specific disease pathogenesis depending on factors such as when in the life cycle the inflammatory event(s) occur and/or genetic predisposition of individuals.
There can, of course, be many factors involved in this. For example, patients with GBS and CIDP often have sleep disorders which may also possibly lead to the development of psychiatric disorders. A 2016 meta-study found that
In chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy, memory and quality of sleep may be impaired.
Whatever the case is, there is a likelihood that the relationship goes both ways. If you feel that you may be suffering from a psychiatric disorder, you may want to consult with your neurologist and see if he or she can refer you to a psychiatric evaluation. Perhaps managing psychiatric troubles can help with CIDP symptoms as well.
Shiraz Abbas is the founder and manager of the CIDP Neuropathy Support Group. He is also one of the main community educators of IVIG therapy. He resides in Fresno, California. Shiraz can be contacted through our free CIDP advice service at 1-855-782-0574.