Depression Needs Serious Diagnosis
Depression is considered as a complex medical disorder it covers various dimensions like biological, psychological and social aspect of a human being Reuters

Depression may not be a disease entirely of the mind, a new study that correlates it to inflammation of the human immune system has found.

Scientists have discovered that depression involves not only psychology but equally the biological, or physiological, human system. The Guardian quotes George Slavich, a clinical psychologist at the University of California in Los Angeles, saying that he doesn't talk about depression as a psychiatric condition anymore.

Psychologists call the symptoms of depression - listlessness and an inability to find joy in engagement - as sickness behaviour. It is the sort of response the body has to any sickness and it happens for a reason, which is to prevent the sick person from spreading his disease to others and to give the body time to heal itself.

Depressive people show the classic symptoms of sickness. This led researchers to enquire into whether there could be a common cause for both - common illnesses and depression. The answer they came up with is inflammation.

Inflammation is the human immune system's response to foreign particles. A class of proteins called cytokines set of inflammation in humans and the mind goes into 'sick' mode with a feeling of uneasiness and listnessness setting in.

Healthy people can temporarily be put in a depressive state when they are vaccinated with substances that cause inflammation. Further, cytokines are known to be found in people suffering from depression. People suffering from inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis too are known to face depression and certain drugs that boost a patient's inflammatory response are also known to cause depression as a side effect.

Based on these clues, scientists are concluding that depression should be branded a non-contagious infectious disease and should be treated as such, rather than being associated with psychology and being treated with physco-therapeutic drugs. However, not all scientists do not subscribe to this view since infection isn't the only thing that causes inflammation. A diet rich in sugar has also been known to cause inflammation. Obese people may be susceptible to inflammatory diseases like depression as belly fat is known to store large volumes of cytokines.

The clinical trials done so far indicate that adding anti-inflammatory medicines to antidepressants increases the proportion of people responding to the treatment. Researchers have developed a simple finger prick test to gauge the level of inflammation in people suffering from depression, a disease that will likely be looked at and treated very differently in future.

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