Does CIDP Inflammation Cause Depression?

Is it possible that the immune system that is responsible for CIDP is also responsible for depression? Let’s explore this idea further.

By Shiraz Abbas

The other week we published an article on how depression could negatively be contributing to your CIDP. Remember that reductionism in scientific discussions about disease is usually a bad idea as it denies the complexity of any disease.

We know how many of our diseases have a web of causes and counter causes. However, a very important question we want to look at this week is whether or not inflammation in the body can actually bring about depression.

By this I don’t mean the obvious issue that pain and sickness can cause depression. No, I mean this on a much deeper immune level.

Some research seems to be showing that the inflammatory elements in the blood that are caused by an autoimmune reaction seems to bring about depression.

So how is this happening? Think about it this way. Inflammation can be a way where your body tries to fight off disease.

neuropathy treatment failing


Have you noticed that when you are sick and fighting an infection, you are suddenly in a bad mood? It’s not just feeling weak, there seems to be a chemical reaction in the brain that brings about a lower mood.

The problem with chronic inflammation is that the body always thinks it is fighting an infection thereby possibly perpetuating a lower mood.

According to the site Prevention, the following is given as an explanation:

If research shows that childhood stress could lead to inflammation in adulthood, then each of these traumas, he suspects, has the capacity to trigger an immune reaction, bringing on an internal, invisible inflammatory state that lasts well beyond the point of outward healing. In cases like these, he says, chronic inflammation has spread to the brain, setting off changes in neurons that result in uncontrolled, unpredictable pain, along with depression symptoms.

If true, this can be a promising gateway as to how to treat chronic inflammatory disorders like CIDP. Aoife O’Donovan, PhD, an assistant adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine is gives us some innovative food for thought. He says:

For inflamed, depressed patients, anti-inflammatory drugs could help. In several studies, adding the anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib (Celebrex, commonly used to treat arthritis) to traditional antidepressants decreased depression symptoms more effectively than when antidepressants were given with a placebo. But so far, there are no FDA-approved drugs for inflammation-related mental-health conditions. (And no, you can’t just take an aspirin.) “It will take really targeted anti-inflammatories to be effective”

Others like Gary Kaplan, DO (an osteopathic physician) offer an alternative. Prevention writes:

Kaplan sidesteps this problem by using a variety of drugs off-label, including Celebrex and low-dose naltrexone, normally used to treat narcotic and alcohol addiction. He also calls upon a host of alternative practices, including elimination diets (in which patients ditch allergens like gluten, soy, and dairy), acupuncture, craniosacral therapy (manipulation of the head and neck to relieve tension), and psychotherapy. Admittedly, integrative doctors have recommended these treatments for years, and even Kaplan allows that they might be working via mechanisms other than the brain’s immune system. Regardless, they seem to help people.

Remember that this is not supposed to be a set cure and you should not try to self-medicate. Make sure that whatever you do, consult with your neurologist first.

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.

Leave a Reply