What if a suicidal patient could be given a chance of a normal life without the conventional bottle of pills and armchair psychology? What if they didn´t have to sit in on a couch for an hour and pay their life savings and expensive insurance premiums on psychiatric care? What if curing Major Depression was as simple as locating substances in their body that are causing their symptoms?
It has been discovered recently that substances in a depressed patient´s spinal fluid may be the root cause for depression and suicidal behaviors. Yes, current serotonin-based medication only targets low serotonin levels, but does not address the key issue of high levels of inflammation-related substances (cytokines) in their spinal fluid.
These cytokines disrupt the mentally ill patients thought processes, making them very depressed and unable to make appropriate decisions like whether or not to end their life. The highest levels of cytokines were found in those who have had years or a lifetime of depression and those with histories of violent suicidal attempts (like shooting themselves or hanging themselves).
The research group at the Division of Psychiatry in Lund is excited about the possibilities of treating these individuals with more severe depression with anti-inflammatory medications in hopes of getting their cytokines in the normal range level.
Another commonality of those with major depression and violent suicidal attempts were the low levels of cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for the ¨flight or fight¨response when provoked or harmed. However, when one lacks the proper amounts of cortisol, they make seek more dangerous activities to heighten the low levels of cortisol in their system. Dangerous activities can include, but not be limited to, suicidal behavior.
Stress levels and the breakdown of a mental patient´s stress system can also be affected by low levels of cortisol.Stress and the inability to cope with everyday problems can be catastrophic in those persons with fragile mental health.
How inflammation in the spinal fluid occurs is still be debated. It could stem from rheumatism, serious allergies, influenza, or a depressed immune system. This is a wide scope of issues to address. Many people suffer one or more of these in their lifetime. Research must still be executed to find out why the spinal fluid has spikes in cytokines.
Fortunately, the solution is fairly simple. Anti-inflammatory medications are prevalent and easy to access. A simple saliva sample taken from the patient can ascertain whether or not the patient has high levels of cytokines. These saliva samples can also detect low levels of cortisol.
By addressing low levels of cortisol and high levels of cytokines in the spinal fluid, the answer to Major Depression and violent suicidal behaviors may be solved outside conventional therapy. By thinking outside the box, so to speak, psychiatric professionals can aid mentally ill patients towards a more effective treatment and thus a more qualitative road in life.