Sunday, May 12, 2013

The organs weep the tears that the eyes refuse to shed

Psychologist have for years now accepted the connection between depression and susceptibility to infections and gastrointestinal inflammation. Two recent studies at the University of Michigan found that depression and the use of certain antidepressants are both associated with increased risk for Clostridium difficile infection, C. diff, which causes diarrhea and in some cases death.

More specific the researchers found that the risk of C. diff infection among people with a history of depression or depressive symptoms was 36 to 47 percent greater than among people without depression.  Very interesting was also the finding that bereavement and living alone was also found to lower the ability to fight infections in older adults.  

A second study, involving patients, average age 58, found a similar relationship between infection and depression. The same study found an association of specific antidepressants — Remeron, Prozac and trazodone — with C. diff infection. There was no association with other antidepressants.
Although the connection between these antidepressants and the infection was not clear and more research is needed, it seems that at the very least patients on these meds that come down with serious infections should be talking to their doctors about the possibility of switching to different antidepressants.  
The ancient proverb comes to mind: "The organs weep the tears that the eyes refuse to shed"
Whether ongoing depression or the pain of bereavement sadness needs to be experienced and processed appropriately before the body suffers too.   


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