How Depression Can Contribute to CIDP

Anxiety and depression have been linked to the development of autoimmune disorders. It’s not just behavioral, our mental health is making us sick. Beware if you have CIDP.

By Shiraz Abbas

Doctors used to think that the connection between mental disorders like depression were accidental and behavioral.

Depressed people don’t take their medications consistently so that’s why people become sick.

However, Time Magazine published a report on new research that shows how your mental health can have a direct impact on the rise of autoimmune diseases. If you have an autoimmune disease like CIDP, make sure to continue reading.

In a previous article, we wrote about how stress could be a possible trigger for CIDP.

But now we’re looking at research that may end the argument on how anxiety disorders and clinical depression can bring about autoimmune diseases.

So let’s look at what the article is saying:

This mysterious mind-body connection seem to be at play in a new study published this week in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, which focused on the physical and mental health of people with psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that causes red patches and flaky scales to form on the surface of the skin. Depression is common among people with psoriasis, who often deal with discomfort and social stigma related to their condition.

Researchers found that psoriasis patients diagnosed with depression were 37% more likely to also develop psoriatic arthritis—a complication that involves inflammation of and around the joints—than those without depression.

Psoriasis is basically a condition where skin cells build up and become scales around your skin. They usually develop in patches, and they are dry and very itchy. You will notice them by their red marks on your skin.

neuropathy treatment failing


Now psoriasis is not too uncommon, BUT, it seems that over 1/3rd of people with the condition who happened to also get diagnosed with depression were more likely to develop psoriatic arthritis, which is another autoimmune condition.

Now you may think that there are certain behaviors that depressed people have that may lead to the condition such as unhealthy eating – and that’s correct, BUT, according to researchers, it seems that the depression itself may be leading to the condition.

Check out what’s being said:

Depression can lead to behaviors that could trigger psoriatic arthritis or exacerbate an existing case, the authors say. For someone predisposed to the disease, factors such as lack of exercise, excess weight gain and poor diet can all affect the severity of symptoms. Yet the study authors controlled for many of these behaviors, and the association still held. This suggests that the depression itself, or the root cause behind the depression, has a direct influence on the development of psoriatic arthritis.

This obviously makes sense. We know how elevated levels of cortisol (which is associated with inflammation) can contribute to autoimmune diseases.

We also know how depression increases the risk of specific autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.

So here is the bright side: what if treating depression could help with autoimmune disorders like CIDP? That’s something to think about!

If you have CIDP and depression at the same time, you may want to talk to your doctor and look into this further.

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.

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