Autoimmune Issues & Mental Health: Understanding the Interactions

Autoimmune Issues & Mental Health: Understanding the Interactions

Video by Dr. Dawn Elise Snipes on integrative behavioral health approaches to improving mental health and reducing mental illness.

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#autoimmune #depression #somatic

Autoimmune Issues, & Mood Disorders
More than 80 types of autoimmune diseases
What Are They
~ Autoimmune Diseases
~ The body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue
~ Hallmark symptoms are systemic inflammation, fatigue and sometimes muscle aches and psychomotor retardation
~ Fibromyalgia is NOT considered an autoimmune disease because it does not cause inflammation
~ A main goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation
Mood Disorders and Autoimmune Diseases Overlapping/concurrent symptoms
• Fatigue
• Increased pain
• Sleep changes
• Psychomotor retardation
• Guilt
• Depression/Anhedonia

• Significant infection in people with autoimmune disease may cause mood disorders.
• Mood disorders may create a vulnerability to infection and autoimmune disease.
• Depression and anxiety can be related to autoimmune issues either because of a biological and cytokine-related mechanism or because of the psychological impact of the disorder
~ During autoimmune disease flare-ups, cytokines circulate in the blood, reach the brain and cause depression, anxiety, anhedonia, social withdrawal, fatigue, and sleep disturbances
~ Likewise, Depression, Anxiety and “Stress” can trigger autoimmune flare-ups
~ Chronic inflammation also impairs the physiological responses to stress including effective coping behaviors, resulting in depression, leading to a poorer prognosis in autoimmune issues
Other Commonalities
~ Association between vitamin D deficiency and cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and depression
Other Commonalities
~ Lack of microbiota diversity leads to many diseases like autoimmune diseases and development of problems such as memory disorders, depression, stress, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease (gut-brain axis)
~ In the intestine, there is synergy between mucus, the microbiome and immune cells which plays an important role in preventing pathogens from crossing into the bloodstream and stimulating inflammation
Medications for Autoimmune Disorders
~ Immunosuppressants
~ Well known for their neuropsychiatric side effects.
~ Metabolized by cytochrome P4503A4 which is inhibited by many psychotropic medications
~ Reduce stress and depression to reduce HPA-Axis upregulation
~ Distress tolerance
~ Factual, likely, distortion free
~ Psychological flexibility: Living in the AND
~ Dialectics: What parts of the situation CAN you control
~ Empowerment (monitoring, disease management)
~ Reduce pain
~ Exercise
~ Social support
~ Support groups
~ Reduce isolation in those with limited mobility
~ Lifestyle Management
~ Noise
~ Improve nutrition
~ Reduce alcohol although light drinking may have some limited benefits
~ Hydration to promote kidney and liver function
~ Get enough sleep
~ Exercise modulates gut microbiota, increases serotonin and impairs inflammatory signaling
~ Maintain a healthy weight because obesity contributes to inflammation
~ Ergonomics
~ Mental Health Issues
~ Write a new narrative
~ Positive journaling reduced depressive symptoms and anxiety after 1 month and greater resilience after the first and second month, relative to usual care.
~ Self-Esteem

#autoimmune #depression #anxiety
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