Autoimmune disease happens when the body’s natural defense system can’t tell the difference between your own cells and foreign cells, causing the body to mistakenly attack normal cells. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases that affect a wide range of body parts.
Autoimmune diseases are sneaky because there’s no pathogen, trauma or other obvious problem. They are “zebras,” not horses. When I was age 16 in 1970, I noticed pinpoints of red dots on my inner forearms. These were blood leaking out of my capillaries. For unknown reasons, my spleen decided to eat all my blood platelets. I had ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, now called “immune thrombocytopenic purpura” since they discovered the immune cause after I had it). My spleen was removed and I got well. Many people aren’t as lucky.
The Covid-19 pandemic is bringing an awareness that a viral infection can over-activate the immune system. Many young patients died of a “cytokine storm,” an over-reaction of the immune system which then attacked the lungs and many other organs. Covid can also over-activate the brain’s immune system, causing usually-supportive glial cells to eat synapses.
Here is a new article about autoimmune psychosis. This is a novel idea, a paradigm shift of the origin of psychosis. It’s possible that some instances of psychosis may be caused by autoimmune attack. Nowadays, there are treatments for autoimmune diseases, but they are totally different from the drugs used to treat psychosis.
**When the Body Attacks the Mind**
**A physiological theory of mental illness.**
**The Atlantic, by Moises Velasquez-Manoff**
**Autoimmune variants of encephalitis exist. Scientists have identified one that resulted when the immune system — perhaps triggered by common infections elsewhere in the body — accidentally attacked crucial receptors in the brain. Symptoms could resemble those of schizophrenia, but proper treatment didn’t involve antipsychotics. Instead, therapy was directed at the immune system. ...**
**In total, scientists have identified about two dozen others — including dementia-like conditions, epilepsies, and a Parkinson’s-like “stiff person” syndrome — and many experts suspect that more exist. Immunological abnormalities have been observed in patients with bipolar disorder and depression as well. Many of these disorders are treatable with aggressive immunotherapy....**
**Scientists are also increasingly interested in the link between depression and systemic inflammation, an immune-system response to infection or other potential triggers such as a lousy diet, obesity, chronic stress, or trauma. Studies suggest that about one-third of people diagnosed with depression have high levels of inflammation markers in their blood....** [end quote]
This suggests a simple, inexpensive, practical course of action.
When a person develops a psychiatric disorder, they should immediately have a blood test to check for inflammation and immune system abnormalities. If something pops up, treat the root cause, not the symptoms. That goes double for long-Covid patients who are likely to have virus-caused autoimmune problems.
That would save a lot of suffering…and also save a lot of money because psychiatric treatment is expensive.