Is your mental health under attack from a past infection?

Anxiety, depression, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, hyperactivity, OCD, tics, and insomnia. In some cases, these mental health conditions can share a common root cause: brain inflammation. An abnormal immune response to a past infection can cause antibodies to be produced against your own brain tissue, resulting in autoimmune brain inflammation and neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Autoimmune Brain Inflammation: A Unique Cause of Poor Mental Health

Poor mental health has many physiological root causes including biochemical imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, hormone imbalances, antibiotic use, and genetics. A lesser-known cause is a past infection that triggers an autoimmune response affecting the brain. It's a case of friendly fire, where your immune system targets your own body in a destructive manner. Streptococcal infections can cause an autoimmune response called PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated With Group A Streptococci). A strep throat infection or a case of impetigo can result in the abrupt onset of a variety of neuropsychiatric symptoms including anxiety, sleep disturbances, cognitive dysfunction, OCD, tics, depression, mood swings, and even abnormal movements.

Autoimmune Brain Inflammation: Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption Opens the Door

To function properly, your brain requires an impenetrable hedge of protection against infectious pathogens, inflammatory immune cells, and foreign substances.

The blood-brain barrier functions as the protective wall your brain.

When an infection occurs, your immune system sets off a cascade of actions designed to keep the infection contained, bring about healing through the resolution of inflammation. This protective response involves the release of inflammatory immune cells into your blood stream. These immune cells can weaken the blood-brain barrier, resulting in an open door to the brain not only for these inflammatory immune cells, but also for antibodies which, in the case of an autoimmune response, may attack the brain tissue, causing brain inflammation.

Autoimmune Brain Inflammation: Identifying the Root Cause to Restore Health

Mental health conditions can have as their root, a past viral or bacterial infection. The functional medicine approach utilizes a thorough investigation of your health along with specialized diagnostic tests such as the Cunningham Panel to identify your root cause and define the care you need to recover your health.