Depression predisposes to infectious, autoimmune, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disorders, to high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and heart attacks, to dying from heart attacks, strokes, and congestive heart failure, to multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases, and seizure disorders. It often predates chronic obstructive lung disease and diabetes. The intensity of depression seems to correlate with the severity, morbidity, and mortality of the disorders to which it predisposes. It is no longer a question of which disorders depression predisposes to, but to which it does not.
Increased synthesis of prostaglandins above a critical level by brain enzymes is responsible for depression on the one hand, and for defective immunity, autoimmunity, cancer, and cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative disorders on the other. Antidepressants are often effective in preventing, alleviating or reversing these disorders. They inhibit the enzymes that synthesize prostaglandins, and/or stimulate the enzyme that degrades them.
These mechanisms illuminate what causes these disorders, but not their variations. Why does one person suffer from depression and heart disease, another from depression and recurrent infections, a third from depression and various autoimmune disorders?
Why would excessive production of prostaglandins in the brain account for both defective immune, and hyperimmune function (autoimmunity)? A provisional answer is that prostaglandins are inherently paradoxical. Why do antidepressants both alleviate disorders of defective immunity and autoimmunity? Antidepressants have paradoxical actions on prostaglandins.
More than forty years ago reports began to enter the literature on medical uses of antidepressants, their impact diluted by the apparent lack of credible pathological and pharmacological explanatory mechanisms. A cadre of researchers knew of the role of prostaglandins in these disorders, but few knew of the inhibitory actions of lithium and antidepressants on prostaglandins.
The information provided here is intended to educate. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, and medical care provided by a qualified and licensed health professional. If you believe that you, your child, or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please consult your health care provider. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else.