Depression Caused by an Infection?


In the New York Times, Anna North discusses research looking into infectious causes of depression, and theories that depression may be an important evolutionary adaptive trait. In Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders, psychologist and neuroscientist Turhan Canli elaborates on these arguments that infectious diseases may cause inflammation and lead to depression, and examines a variety of possible causes such as parasitic, bacterial, or viral infections. Canli also presents “examples that illustrate possible pathways by which these microorganisms could contribute to the etiology of major depression.”

What If We’re Wrong About Depression? (The New York Times, November 26, 2014)

(Full text) Reconceptualizing major depressive disorder as an infectious disease (Canli, Turhan. Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders. October 21, 2014. doi:10.1186/2045-5380-4-10)


  1. I think it may be that many different factors may affect in things such as pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, stress hormones and so on. Psychological stress, lack of sleep and so on also affect the the body, or perhaps “enable” the body to get inflammatory and other responses. Infections from bacteria or viruses may very well be one factor in some cases of diagnosed mental illnesses.

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  2. I was put on an antidepressant, not because I complained of depression, but as a supposedly “safe smoking cessation drug.” According to all my medical records, I was put on the antidepressant to cover up a “bad fix” on a broken bone, by my PCP’s husband, and the sexual abuse of my child, by my ex-pastor and / or his best friend.

    My subsequent pastor explained that I had dealt with the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.” Apparently, a primary function of the psychiatric industry, historically and still today, is to cover up easily recognized iatrogenesis by incompetent doctors and child molestation by the mainstream religions.

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  3. It’s pretty well known that Syphilis will cause insanity… that Lyme disease can have fibromyalgia-like symptoms etc ? Will they be proving that pathogens cause major depression ? Or that what they thought was major depression was infection by a pathogen ?

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