What’s the price you pay?

It seems there is an idea starting to circulate that it would be a good idea to treat depression with anti inflammatory drugs.

The logic apparently, according to the article in The Daily Telegraph, is that an overactive immune system causes inflammation which causes “feelings of hopelessness, unhappiness and fatigue”.

I haven’t seen the study and I don’t know what drugs were used to treat the inflammation, but I’d like to ask the question, why is the inflammation there in the first place.

When the body is under threat, our immune systems do not trigger inflammation just in case we are going to be injured.  We need to get  away from the danger!!  When we are under threat, we are hardwired with the fight/flight/freeze stress response which is to produce cortisol.  The feelings of “hopelessness, unhappiness and fatigue” , as well as depression, insulin resistance, IBS are all symptoms of high levels of cortisol.

It doesn’t matter whether you are running away from sabre toothed tigers, living with the boss from the hell or arguing with a parking attendant, the result is the same; the body produces cortisol.

Under stress, it is not your immune system that kicks in but your adrenals. High levels of cortisol cause inflammation. What is more, cortisol remains in the body for 26 hours unless you can find a way of reducing it.  And how many people think about lowering their stress levels? Most people get accustomed to living with stress and dismiss it with “I can handle this”.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO, CFO, MD, PA or the person who cleans the windows, stress affects everyone, no-one is immune.

So where does stress come from during the day? Take your pick –  junk food for breakfast or no breakfast, stressful journey to work, the boss from hell or the staff that don’t do what you tell them; lunch on the run; 6 cups of coffee to keep your energy up; snacks of chocolate or biscuits [to keep your energy up]; a nightmare journey home; your partner/lover/husband/wife who wants your time; your children who want your time; TV dinners; the DIY job that needs doing; sitting in front of your computer; scrolling through your emails or Facebook till midnight; not enough sleep…………..

Cortisol changes how your brain works and how you think and react; it recognises cortisol as a response to fear or danger so your brain takes action and shuts down.   You function on autopilot.

Inflammation is driven by high levels of cortisol.  So before going down the drug route for inflammation or depression, do a saliva cortisol test and find out for yourself what’s going on in your body. The good news is that your brain and your body can heal, renew, repair and regenerate if you bring your cortisol levels down.