• Sandra Cohen

Body & Mind: What is inflammation?

Over the years of practice, I often receive clients who are under a lot of pressure and stress; being emotionally and physically drained, feeling overwhelmed by workload, unable to reach a healthy work-life balance, with a burden of excessive travelling.

These individuals are under chronic stress and they could eventually reach a depressive state.

Interestingly, last week, the Royal Society of Medicine offered a seminar about depression; body, brain and consequences, where some of the latest research and findings were presented. Across each area, there was an emphasis on the role of inflammation.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is part of the body's immune response. It is a natural way for our body to protect and defend itself against foreign bodies.

The signs of inflammation are usually redness, swelling, hotness and pain.

These are signs of an acute response of the body against an invader (which could be a virus or a wound for example.)

But what is then happening in the case of burn-out and depression?

There are no apparent signs of inflammation. Despite that, various studies have found that inflammatory markers like C- reactive protein (CRP) were high in depressed patients suggesting that inflammation might have a role.

The Immune system, meant to protect us, is not specifically located in an area but rather spread all other the body. It creates a systemic response given by the body, which affects the brain and could impair different brain areas. Affecting one of these brain areas associated with reward will consequently affect mood.

Several questions remain unanswered at present, and there is abundant room for further progress in determining the impact of this correlation found between inflammation and depression.

In the meantime, for those interested in this subject, I suggest you to read the book of EDWARD BULLMORE, “The Inflamed Mind” that I had the chance to read last summer. It's not just a fascinating and easy read, but it's also surprisingly accessible.

And as we can’t ignore that lifestyle can trigger our body, we could take actions with our diet to reduce inflammation.

Are you feeling burned out, but are struggling to pin point why?

Take time to reflect on the above idea. Is your body trying to tell you something about your emotions?