Today it’s not possible anymore to consider psychological and physical health as two distinct realities: thanks to psychoneuroimmunology, several data on the bidirectional link between mind and body are available. Psychosocial life influences physical health: states of depression or anxiety and adverse childhood experiences can increase all-cause mortality, while psychological wellbeing (e.g. enjoying life) rises life expectancy. In fact the activation of the stress axis induces the production of cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and CRP) that increase body inflammatory levels predisposing to problems such as heart diseases, immune pathologies, diabetes, metabolic syndrome. On the other hand, peripheral inflammation can reach the brain thus altering the functioning of brain circuits, activating the stress axis and conditioning the mood: that’s why an increase in peripheral inflammation can induces a depressive state. Therefore, it is paramount to realize this bidirectional link to take care of people’s health.
Keywords: Inflammation, Depression, Psychosocial risk factors, Cytokines, Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, Adverse childhood experiences.