The inflammation we’re talking about isn’t the type that makes your brain swollen, red, or sore—it’s inflammation on a microscopic level. When cells are in distress, they release tiny SOS signals called “inflammatory cytokines” that can be measured in the blood. Here are just a few of the compelling scientific clues connecting psychiatric disorders to inflammation:
- Levels of inflammatory cytokines tend to be higher in people with mood and psychotic disorders
- People with mood disorders and psychotic disorders are more vulnerable to infection and autoimmune diseases
- Drugs that increase inflammatory cytokines cause depression in some individuals
- Inflammatory cytokines disrupt normal production of serotonin and glutamate–key neurotransmitters involved in mood and psychotic disorders.