Mental health, immune response and inflammation
For the most part I remain on hiatus, but I wanted to share the below article because I’m learning about immune response right now and I think it’s important to share it. When I say I’m learning it I mean that my body is revealing the truth of it to me. Our bodies hold information to heal us. We all learn different things because we’re all aspects of the whole. I’m sharing what I am receiving through my healing experience. This information needs to get out there and every single one of us that understand (in whatever way it comes to us) can help it go society wide.
Mad in America has featured an article about inflammation and the immune response in the Lancet. It’s great that these things are being studied, but as usual it’s done from a dangerously reductionistic perspective. We must broaden our lenses if we hope to profoundly help people. Again, my favorite meme: everything matters.
Please read the comments that follow the excerpt. It’s important that those of us who have the body knowledge of these realities come to understand what it is we are experiencing so that we can communicate it to others and help ourselves and each other. It’s possible to get well. It’s very helpful to understand what is going on.
So from Mad in America:
There is mounting evidence that inflammation and altered immune system responses may be playing important roles in the pathogenesis of psychological distress, including in the etiology of schizophrenia, according to a research review and editorial in The Lancet Psychiatry.
“Contrary to the traditional view that the brain is an immunologically privileged site shielded behind the blood–brain barrier, studies in the past 20 years have noted complex interactions between the immune system, systemic inflammation, and the brain, which can lead to changes in mood, cognition, and behaviour,” stated a team led by University of Cambridge researchers.
“Early in the 20th century, there was great excitement when general paresis of the insane was shown to be due to syphilis and curable with penicillin, inspiring hope that similar organic causes might be found for other types of mental illness,” stated the editorial. “This hope was not realised and for the rest of the century immunology and psychiatry went their separate ways. Now evidence is accumulating that neuroinflammation might after all contribute to some disorders, such as schizophrenia(.)”
From Mad in America
Gabor Mate’s work is very important here and pulls together much of what is going on although not all of it is explicit.
Another person doing really important work around these issues from a trauma perspective is Bessel van der Kolk:
Both these men see that chronic illness is often part of the picture. Immune response is a large part of why this is the case.
This sort of research so often misses the scope of what is happening to our body/minds but there are people stringing it all together finally. A lot of those people are us. Those who are dealing with these issues. It just needs to get out there a little more widely. Pharmaceutical management is NOT the way to go. A lot of people are coming to understand this.
Healing requires understanding ourselves as holistic beings for which everything we do matters. It also requires understanding that as individuals every path to wholeness is different. There are no cookie cutter solutions here. This is the biggest reason that reductionistic research, applied without greater understanding about the whole to pharmaceutical and other sorts of targeted treatments end up being dangerous for often large percentages of people subject to standard care.
This is now posted on Mad in America as well. If you care to discuss you can leave comments there.