Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of the intricate communication between the nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system. Studies are finding that inflammation and immune dysfunction is associated with many psychiatric disorders such as depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia. There is also an increase prevalence of autoimmune diseases in patients with mental health issues. An autoimmune disease is condition where to person own immune system attacks tissues causing inflammation and tissue damage. Studies on depression and other mood disorders have found increase in inflammatory immune factors. The brain and immune system communicate back and forth through the neuroendocrine and autonomic nervous system that activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). Studies have found impairment of the HPA axis in many mental health condition as well as autoimmune diseases. Stress activates the HPA axis releasing cortisol that dampens the immune response initially, but chronic stress and cortisol release actually suppresses the immune system contributing to low grade inflammation (Alessi and Bennett, 2020).
Stress and diet are the two most important factors that can lead to chronic illness. Stress (mentally and physically) and inflammation can cause epigenetic changes that can be passed on to our children. Scripture gives us direction to where our health comes from. Proverb 3:5-8 is our mediation for the week.
Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,
And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord [with reverent awe and obedience] and turn [entirely] away from evil.
It will be health to your body [your marrow, your nerves, your sinews, your muscles—all your inner parts]
And refreshment (physical well-being) to your bones.
The way to being well in mind, body, and spirit is trusting in the Lord, acknowledging him is all our ways, and reverently honoring him. As we seek him with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13), it will be health to all our inner parts. Go to Jesus, trusting him ,and he will direct your path. Meditate on his love for you. You are his beloved child.
Shalom (peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility).
Alessi, M. G., & Bennett, J. M. (2020). Mental health is the health of the whole body: How psychoneuroimmunology & health psychology can inform & improve treatment. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 26(5), 1539–1547. https://doi.org/10.1111/jep.13386