Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by BurnA, May 29, 2016.
Groundbreaking study links immune system to mental health
I find this a bit strange, nowhere do they suggest that it might not be a mental illness even though supposedly they found links to the immune system ( they dont supply much in the form of details on the links they found. )
I'm not at all surprised by this. Even if you are diagnosed with a "mental illness", it doesn't mean that the problem lies in the brain. Studies have quite long ago found that certain pro-inflammatory cytokine levels are abnormal in depression (link). Cytokines act as "messengers" of the immune system. Equally, many people with CFS on this forum have symptoms dominating which affects their brain (brain fog, mental exhaustion, anxiety, etc.). Instead of trying to divide something to a mental or physical illness, the focus should be to treat these diseases at the root cause of the problem, which I believe in many cases is inflammation and abnormal immune response. Sadly, it will take many more years for doctors to understand this.
I think that most mental illnesses will almost certainly turn out to be primarily caused by neurological and immunological abnormalities, rather than psychosocial or psychological factors.
I think the reason that historically — and still to a large degree at present — psychiatrists have looked for psychosocial or psychological factors, rather than neurological and immunological factors (physical factors), to explain mental illness and mental symptoms is because:
(1) Until recent decades, we did not have many ways of peering into the brain or immune system to search for dysfunction. So this caused a focus on the psychosocial or psychological factors which were accessible to study, but not the neurological and immunological factors which were not accessible. But technology is changing this.
(2) Many psychiatrists and psychologists do not have the mindset and skill set to examine underlying neurological and immunological pathophysiologies of mental illness. Psychiatrists and psychologists probably have a good amount of empathetic skills, which enable them to enter into the minds of others; but they may not necessarily have the ability and skill set to navigate through neurology and immunology. Thus by their own inclinations, they may avoid considering the brain and physical side, and focus only on the mental side of the illnesses they study. Which is I think the wrong place to look, if the causes of mental illness are primarily physical.
As technology provides us with increasing observational access to the brain, immune system and other physical aspects of body, there needs to be a new breed of psychiatrists and psychologists that can academically master of both the mind and the brain, and can then attempt to figure out how abnormalities in the former are caused by dysfunction in the latter.
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