The 12th Invest in ME Conference, Part 1
OverTheHills presents the first article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME international Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
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Can ME cause or initiate mental illness?

Discussion in 'General Symptoms' started by Aerose91, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. Aerose91

    Aerose91 Senior Member

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    Since I've been hit with this I've developed strong mental symptoms, many of which mimicking mental illnesses. For instance I now have bad OCD. Also, I go through high and low phases that I think are due to adrenaline. For a few weeks I'll be very solemn and down then the adrenaline picks up and for the next few weeks I'll be super wired and hyperactive. So bad that my mind won't stop.

    I know these are classic bipolar syomptoms. I'm not a hypochondriac and have never had mental illness in my life but I'm wondering if all of this is directly an ME thing or if something was.. triggered? For lack of a better term. I haven't found any solution or resolutions to it as of yet.
     
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  2. dan062

    dan062 Senior Member

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    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24332563

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...human-throats-linked-poor-brain-function.html

    I've noted something extremely similar. My mental health has gone haywire since this began. This is partially due to the stress of going through this illness (and its ramifications), but I suspect it's also, in large measure, driven by something organic.

    Mechanism-wise, there are lots of speculated pathways by which dysbiosis in the gut (speculated to drive autoimmunity) and/or viral infections, often superimposed on that dysbiosis, can cause mental health issues as well as direct tissue damage to the nervous system, as occurs in MS or lupus, for example.

    PANDAS is a pretty good example of mental health issues occurring indirectly, although it's somewhat controversial -- OCD brought on suddenly by a strep infection.

    I think dysautonomia could also do it, through disruption of the endocrine system, and then there's also, of course, the possibility of actual infiltration of the CNS tissue by a pathogen as would happen in, say, toxoplasmosis, enteroviruses, among many others.

    The good news, as far as I see it, is that it's a two way street. Calming the mind (meditation, etc) can improve dysbiosis through the vagal nerve, and improving the condition in general should reduce autoimmunity or the viral load of a pathogen.

    As with everything in this, I think the explanation is likely complex, multi-factorial, and in dispute!

    I think it's also something that is a hard part of the battle for most of us.
     
  3. Aerose91

    Aerose91 Senior Member

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    Thanks Dan,

    Since this disease IS in my brain for me I'd have to agree with everything you said and I strongly agree that the cause of the mental illness is certainly organic. I wonder if the cause in ME is different than the cause of mental illness in someone unaffected by chronic disease. As in, if we somehow heal the ME and afflictions in our brains would the mental illness subside as well? Or is it just sort of triggered now.
     
  4. dan062

    dan062 Senior Member

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    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23384445

    I'd (totally guess) that a lot of poor mental health in the general population does have a lot to do with poor gut flora brought on by the usual culprits of antibiotic use, poor diet, stress, etc. However there are obviously also people that become depressed simply because (for example) their spouse left them!

    It's also really hard to disentangle cause and effect with all this. The mind and body are truly one!

    I have no idea about the above question. I'd like to be optimistic that any damage can be repaired (at least partially) so long as the underlying cause is righted -- but I do think that that's hard in ME.

    I'm looking into ketone bodies and stuff like hyperbaric oxygen therapy specifically for the neurological stuff, but my main focus at the moment is on trying to figure out the root cause and see if there is anything that can be done to improve my condition.

    Look up neuroplasticity. It's amazing stuff. I think that they'd previously assumed that the brain couldn't be repaired (unlike the liver), but that was disproven a short time ago.
     
  5. Aerose91

    Aerose91 Senior Member

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    Dan,

    I've done quite a lot of research on neuroplasticity and I am sure keeping hope that some reversal can happen.

    In regards to ketones as you mentioned, every doctor I have seen or spoken to as if this point all agree that a ketogenic diet is the best way to eat- illness or not. Unfortunately it hasn't caused any change in symptoms for me but I will continue eating this way regardless just for the health benefit, probably forever.
     
  6. dan062

    dan062 Senior Member

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    Sorry for assuming you hadn't (heard about neuroplasticity). I'm a relative newbie to all this so shouldn't assume that others are too.

    Interesting that the doctors were encouraging about the ketogenic diet but sorry to hear that it hasn't helped you.

    All I can say is that perhaps things take time. If you look up post encephalitis (medically recognized) recovery periods, they are often very long. And if the damage process is ongoing it might be like swimming against the stream (this is why I'm working on trying to address the underlying cause before I deal specifically with the neuro stuff).

    Do you meditate? MRIs have shown some pretty impressive findings with regard to neuroplasticity. Certainly an avenue you might want to explore.
     
  7. JAM

    JAM Jill

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    I have been diagnosed with PTSD due to living with a chronic illness. At one point eating brought so much pain that I became anorexic, my therapist said that it was the sanest reaction to the situation. Once I found a way of controlling the pain to a certain extent the anorexia went away. I am also borderline OCD, but due to the illness only. When having one thing just out of reach causes pain, you get a little obsessed with things being in their place! As my symptoms continue to lift all the mental/emotional stuff is becoming very rare.
    Brain plasticity is one of the things that gives me hope of a full recovery, and so far it seems to be holding true.
     
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  8. Iquitos

    Iquitos Senior Member

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    ME is a neurological disease, at least in part, so of course it can cause "mental illness", whatever one's definition of "mental illness" is.
     
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  9. dan062

    dan062 Senior Member

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    Hey @JAM. Glad to hear that you're doing a little bit better.

    PTSD is one of my theories too and I'm interested to hear that a proper mental health professional lends it some validity. I had heard that the definition to qualify for it is traditionally pretty strict, and that illness doesn't suffice (ie you have to be in some kind of awful combat situation), but like everything in medicine, I think there are brushstrokes rather than just black and white. (@Sidereal might know something about this as I believe she has some expertise in this area).

    Funnily enough, I got really into Homeland right after my illness began, and it's only in retrospect that I made the connection between its onset and something like PTSD. Our bodies go haywire, which is stressful enough, then the people we expect to help in that situation treat us with indifference or often contempt (doctors), and then finally our family and friends do the same! We then often suffer from hypochondriac-level hyper-vigilance of our symptoms, which seems an awful lot like PTSD people having paranoid and flashbacks and only, of course, convinces doctors further that we are, in fact, crazy.

    It's the ultimate formula for severe stress and depression if you ask me!

    Anyway, I'm glad again that you're doing better and hope that your recovery continues.
     
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  10. Sidereal

    Sidereal Senior Member

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    Well, for what it's worth (not much), I think all "mental illness" is caused by biological processes in the body so it is of no surprise to find an increased prevalence of psychiatric symptoms in all sorts of neurological and metabolic disorders. ME is no exception.

    With regard to PTSD and its comorbidity with ME/CFS/FM/MCS, I think Martin Pall's ideas about dysregulation in nitric oxide and peroxynitrite are very interesting.
     
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  11. eafw

    eafw Senior Member

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    The research on cytokines, that is recently being talked about in connection with ME, has been speculated to be involved with depressive processes for a while now. As a more general idea really it is not suprising that changes in chemistry and structure of the brain would have an effect on "mental" health as well.
     
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  12. JAM

    JAM Jill

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    My therapist worked with me using CBT and EMDR, both helped with the PTSD to a great extent. The definition of PTSD has broadened significantly beyond combat situations.

    The most help has come in the form of Olive Leaf Extract.

    I hope you find what will work for you soon.
     
  13. justy

    justy Donate Advocate Demonstrate

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    I have a lot of neuro issues, as well as having has severe anxiety, OCD at points and agoraphobia so severe I couldn't stand outside my door.

    KDM believes that I have a lot of brain inflammation caused by bacterial infections. I have spoken to a lot of Lymies who have OCD . I have Bartonella which causes a lot of psychiatric problems, and others I speak to say this clears up with treatment. I also have Cpn and that bacteria is capable of infiltrating the brain.

    I also have quite severe derealisation and feel like a completely different person at times. I have also had instances of waking at night and not knowing what a human is or that I am one.
     
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  14. Martial

    Martial Senior Member

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    Its a pretty common thing I hear about, especially with methylation treatment as well for some reason. It happened to me but its pretty understandable. Your sleep is sup optimal, nervous system is exhausted, everything is just short circuiting so its no surprise the mental state becomes more pronounced.

    I used to have severe anxiety and one of the main things that can happen with that is a wired and tired feeling, bouts of hyperactivity from lack of quality sleep or an excessively sensitized nervous system, along with the racing thoughts from adrenaline. Then the body kind of levels out and crashes and you feel more apathetic and burnt out.

    As long as you never had an actual manic episode I would doubt some kind of bi polar disorder was triggered. Really there are a plethora of reasons these changes happen, one from the exhaustion of the body from illness itself, brain inflammation which would affect mood and sensory processing, hypo perfusion where the frontal cortex would not be getting enough oxygen, a sensitized nervous system, etc..

    I myself started even getting temporal lobe seizure type episodes though never actually diagnosed, along side frontal lobe dementia type things, I remember we had a pretty big thread going on all of this actually haha! Didn't you mention a positive lyme diagnosis? This is all pretty common with Lyme, what are you doing to treat it as of current? A lot of people I talked to mentioning some of their mental symptoms getting temporarily worse while clearing out the infection.
    None of it is a permanent thing though, these things tend to resolve when you recover more from the illness. Anytime you have changes going on with the brain its no wonder psychiatric things can occur as well!
     
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  15. dan062

    dan062 Senior Member

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    Forgot about this one. IMO, it's actually probably the least convoluted (and scary!) explanation of the lot, particularly as people with inflammatory diseases that definitely don't cause direct injury or infiltration of nervous tissues (e.g. Crohn's) commonly report much of the 'neuro' stuff that we do such as dizziness, brain fog, memory problems, etc.

    I think I read (this may be wrong) that for some reason they had thought that the brain didn't have cytokine receptors and when they did realized the connection betweenn inflammation and all the above.
     
  16. eafw

    eafw Senior Member

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    I'm not quite clear on the history of it, at what point they decided that the brain was separate and then decided it wasn't.

    This is from 2002, still a fairly new concept at this point ?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11852148/

    and this from last year which is a good overview of depression and "physical" inflammatory disease

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3741070/
     
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  17. dan062

    dan062 Senior Member

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    Thanks, @eafw. I hadn't come across the term 'sickness behaviour' in a while. I was searching for the term for a post here the other day and couldn't remember it.

    I think the mind body connection has always been hypothesized but it's only in the last few decades that the mechanisms how that interface works (vagal pathway, microbiome, etc) are becoming obvious (I think the more you read about it even calling it an 'interface' is wrong as they're basically one continuum). I'd love to read a proper history on it - think it would make a compelling read.

    I remember hearing one theory about ME/CFS that the whole illness is actually just the neurological flip switch for sickness behaviour in the subconscious getting permanently switched on by mistake.

    Thought it was an interesting concept but it's also at odds with a lot of the evidence that suggests stuff like ongoing infections, etc. However definitely something I will look into again.
     
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  18. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Brain inflammation (neuroinflammation) is being increasing linked to mental health conditions such as depression and schizophrenia. And we now know that ME/CFS involves neuroinflammation as well, thanks to a recent Japanese study.

    As well as an infection within the brain itself, there are several other mechanisms by which infections in body peripheries can remotely induce brain inflammation.

    If you have a gut, kidney or sinus infection in the body peripheries, this can trigger neuroinflammation, which may then lead to mental symptoms. So this likely explains why a condition like IBS, in which you find higher levels of inflammatory cytokines in the gut, often involves mental symptoms such as anxiety.

    The vagus nerve is one pathway that is involved in the gut to brain connection: if there is inflammation in the gut, this can be sensed by the vagus nerve, and the vagus will then transmit a signal to the brain, and the brain in turn will instigate a neuroinflammatory response within itself.

    The trigeminal nerve can also transmit an inflammatory signal to the brain. This is likely why people with sinusitis (inflammation in the sinuses) often experience anxiety states, because when the trigeminal nerve, which runs from brain to sinuses, detects inflammation in the sinuses, it can transmit a signal to the brain, which just like the gut case, instigates neuroinflammation.


    For more info on how peripheral infections / inflammation can induce brain inflammation, see:

    From inflammation to sickness and depression: when the immune system subjugates the brain (heavy reading)

    The Impact of Systemic Inflammation on Brain Inflammation (easier reading)
     
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  19. dan062

    dan062 Senior Member

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    @Hip: thanks for the info on the trigeminal nerve. I never knew about the sinusitis - neuro link through it (I'd assumed that if there could be an interface that it would be meditated by the vagal nerve like most other organs, but anatomically this obviously didn't really make sense)
     
  20. Tired of being sick

    Tired of being sick Senior Member

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    ME/CFS can and does cause Major Depression,ADHD,and Anxiety just to name a few.........

    What makes me an expert on the 3 mental illnesses above?

    I'm living with them as they are secondary to my Hyperadrenergic form of POTS which is secondary to my CFS.........
     

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