Depression is partly a physical illness that could be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, experts believe
DEPRESSION is partly a physical illness that could be treated with drugs such as ibuprofen, experts say. A faulty immune system is thought to trigger some mental illness by causing widespread inflammation in the body.
Around one in 13 Brits suffer severe low mood, which is largely treated by drugs that boost feel-good chemicals in the brain. But studies show that nearly a third have elevated levels of immune biomarkers in blood. Prof Edward Bullmore, head of Cambridge University’s psychiatry department, said it was possible that they could be treated with anti-inflammatory pills instead.
The NHS (National Health Service) prescribed a record 67.5 million antidepressants last year.
He said: “The new way of thinking is that the inflammation associated with physical illness is directly affecting the brain.
Doctors previously believed the brain and immune system operated separately.
Prof Wendy Burn, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “It’s a fascinating theory and may provide a new way to look at depression.”