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Living with Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Inflammation and Depression


#1

We often discuss whether or not depression arises because PsA sucks or whether it is caused by the disease itself. This article is about the likelihood of a causal link between inflammatory diseases and depression. It's a very accessible article.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/dec/20/anti-inflammatory-drugs-could-fight-depression-immune-disorders


#2

Such an interesting article! I’ve suspected a causal relationship from my own experience when I started Enbrel: my deep and long standing depression started lifting immediately. I told my GP that I thougt the anti-tnf treatment had lifted my depression. She seemed to find that suggestion amusing. But the next time I saw her, she told me about a professional development session that she had attended the previous evening. A psychiatrist was talking about some novel approaches in psychiatry. He said that if someone with an auto-immune disorder comes to him with depression that hasn’t responded well to treatment, the first thing he does is send them back to their rheumatologist for aggressive (like anti-tnf) treament. Most of the time, he never sees them again.

There really is something to this, and I’m glad that scientists are seriously looking into it.


#3

This is really fascinating and welcome stuff. I too noticed improvement in mood with Enbrel when it was working.

I hope that there can be some real collaboration between those that work with the mind and those that work with the other parts of the body. They're totally connected! :)


#4

Idk why I didn't notice this discussion earlier, Sybil. That article is very interesting and I wish I could be part of a study about this. For us, it sure makes sense and I'm glad there will be more research on how depression is linked to inflammation. It's especially interesting that the people treated with interferon for hepatitis, which brought on an inflammatory response had such a high incidence of depression! And, knowing inflammation is connected with Alzheimer's is really scary.

The fact that so many of us complain of brain fog--we know PsA is affecting our brain. I hope the studies continue until they get some real answers. As I sit here in my quiet living room I can't not be irritated by the loud ringing in my ears--it always seems like it's more inside my head than in my ears. I wonder if that's PsA and in my brain? It's very annoying.

Back to the depression, though....I felt so unhappy for a couple years before I went on Enbrel and it was getting progressively worse right along with how my aches and pains were increasing. Like you, Seenie, that sadness went away in a matter of days after my first injection. Unfortunately, I don't feel as happy anymore. I'm not sad--just not as "high on life" and I've been having more PsA symptoms again. Hmmmm


#5

So maybe our depression was an autoimmune disease after all :) This also proves that depression is not something we cause, it is not something we "choose", it is a biochemical reaction, just like any other illness. Some people just do not understand that, some people find the nerve to say "you choose to be depressed, just choose to be happy and live your life". Yeah, ok! Let me just check with the chemicals in my body first and get back to you!


#6

Actually, ladylazarus, I used to think people had a choice about depression. I didn't experience it until the past couple of years as my PsA got worse. Now I'm more understanding. But I used to get annoyed by people who said they were depressed!


#7

Well, Grandma J, people who are depressed are definitely annoying, including myself LOL. They are hard to be around with because you don't know what to do or what to say and that makes them more desperate and annoying and makes the people around them feel helpless, and more annoyed :)

People do have a choice with depression. But it's not whether to be depressed or not. It's a choice about how to survive it. And it is not easy. It took me 5-6 years to learn how to live with depression. It is not something that magically goes away, you can never learn to have a "positive outlook" about life. But you learn to go around the negative. Maybe I tell you in more detail how it is another time, I don't want to make this thread about something else :) But what I wrote in our discussion in the Emotional Support section is also valid for depression. Fighting an uncurable (at least for the time being) systemic disease is emotionally and mentally very much like fighting depression.


#8

ladylazarus, you don't seem annoying at all! And, I apologize for being intolerant of people with depression in the past. I finally realized after being "depressed" myself (it was never diagnosed nor did I ever take any meds for it) how it can take over and muddy any good thoughts a person should be having. I never told anyone I was sad until on this forum! Not even my doctors until just recently.

Part of the problem is I grew up in a very happy home, even though we didn't have much. My husband grew up in a sad, fighting, complaining home. His parents stayed together but they were obviously not happy with each other. Thus, depression resulted. Environmental and genetic. Now a couple of our kids inherited that. We've had a difficult marriage, mostly I think because my husband doesn't understand how people should treat each other since his parents were arguing all the time. I tried my best to cover it all up and stay upbeat for our kids' sake.

So, anyway, once I realized there are many deep-seeded reasons why people are depressed, I knew that it's not something they can easily fix and it's not that they don't appreciate things.

ladylazarus said:

Well, Grandma J, people who are depressed are definitely annoying, including myself LOL. They are hard to be around with because you don't know what to do or what to say and that makes them more desperate and annoying and makes the people around them feel helpless, and more annoyed :)

People do have a choice with depression. But it's not whether to be depressed or not. It's a choice about how to survive it. And it is not easy. It took me 5-6 years to learn how to live with depression. It is not something that magically goes away, you can never learn to have a "positive outlook" about life. But you learn to go around the negative. Maybe I tell you in more detail how it is another time, I don't want to make this thread about something else :) But what I wrote in our discussion in the Emotional Support section is also valid for depression. Fighting an uncurable (at least for the time being) systemic disease is emotionally and mentally very much like fighting depression.


#9

Grandma J, you most definitely don't have to apologize for being intolerant! Nobody has to be understanding of everybody. I know for a fact that I am not :) I too have certain traits that I simply cannot stand :) And I am sorry if I was a little harsh about the things I said about people not being understanding enough. I get worked up easily sometimes :)

I will tell you a funny thing. I think we already established that I am very prone to depression. But so is my bf! You would expect us to be very understanding of each other, right? Exactly the opposite! :) We once spent an entire year, him sleeping all the time, me unable to sleep and crying all the time, and we barely spoke about it or tried to make each other feel better. Mental illnesses are tricky like that :)


#10

That's how horrible depression is. Even though you loved each other depression wouldn't allow you to reach out to each other! It is really a serious illness. I know--my brother committed suicide because of it. He didn't reach out to anybody-he just put on a happy face for us. So sad we didn't even get a chance to at least talk to him about his "demons".

A couple of our kids have depression and anxiety. They tell me I don't understand. And I don't. I am more sympathetic since I know what it feels like to feel "down" but yet I didn't feel as sad and anxious as they do. It scares me when they make comments about giving up. It's a very helpless feeling. I wish everyone could just be happy--but I know it's not a choice.

ladylazarus said:

Grandma J, you most definitely don't have to apologize for being intolerant! Nobody has to be understanding of everybody. I know for a fact that I am not :) I too have certain traits that I simply cannot stand :) And I am sorry if I was a little harsh about the things I said about people not being understanding enough. I get worked up easily sometimes :)

I will tell you a funny thing. I think we already established that I am very prone to depression. But so is my bf! You would expect us to be very understanding of each other, right? Exactly the opposite! :) We once spent an entire year, him sleeping all the time, me unable to sleep and crying all the time, and we barely spoke about it or tried to make each other feel better. Mental illnesses are tricky like that :)


#11

Grandma J, I had so much to tell you so I sent your inbox a message :)


#12

I have noticed I am a lot more depressed the worse my flare ups are. I also get anxiety when having flare ups…I wonder if that is connected too.


#13

It’s important to note that this article does not state that there is a positive correlation between artificially lowering inflammation and decrease in depression. I think this research is setup for some new over priced antidepressants.


#14

Am I depressed because I’m in pain? Because I’m terrified of what the future holds? Because I fear I’ve permanently lost important parts of my life? Or am I depressed because of the disease that causes said pain and loss? Or both…?


#15


#16

I read the article as well. Having been on Orencia for 8 years, I do not believe this particular drug has affected my depression. I think the fact that outsiders may not be supportive to us because this is not a "visible" disease. I have had the experience of close friends saying " why don't you go back to work". This is what can make the depression worse.


#17

Makes me wonder, Brooklyn Girl, whether it mighht be worth considering a change of anti-TNF medication.