10-12 Toxicants leading to depression -Part 4: Solvents

Posted in Depression, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Treatment

Toxicants leading to depression -Part 4: Solvents

Depression is often thought to be caused due to excessive stress, severe loss, loneliness, and extreme failure. However, according to studies, factors such as addiction, genetic changes, alteration in hormone levels, or certain medications may cause depression. However, not many researchers have studied toxicants such as solvents as a cause of depression.

Studies show that all solvents are harmful to humans. Solvents are manmade, liquid organic chemicals used to dissolve solid materials. Due to their toxic nature, solvents have the power to damage the skin, eyes, respiratory tract, internal organs, affect the nervous system, and also cause cancer.

Acknowledging the ill effects of solvents, studies have now been conducted to explore their role in causing depression. It has been found that solvents tend to affect the brain or central nervous system (CNS) causing “narcosis.” While a minimal exposure can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, irritability, headache, fatigue, and nausea, a long-term or chronic exposure to solvents can permanently damage the CNS and result in severe mental illnesses such as depression.

Study exploring the link

The studies conducted to identify the hazards of solvents revealed that they have the potential to damage the human body. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), recognized many solvents to be carcinogenic as well. As per the Current Intelligence Bulletin (CIB), issued by NIOSH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many organic solvents as well as mixture of solvents also cause neurotoxic effects, which further lead to depression. Currently, there are nearly 9.8 million workers who are exposed to solvents in the form of paints, adhesives, glues, coatings and degreasing/cleaning agents, and to those used in the production of dyes, polymers, plastics, textiles, printing inks, agricultural products and pharmaceuticals.

Besides, according to a study “Time May Not Fully Attenuate Solvent-Associated Cognitive Deficits in Highly Exposed Workers” published in Neurology in May 2014, the past use of industrial solvents can be directly linked to lower scores on a series of standardized cognitive tests used to track dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Solvents as a cause of depression

The toxic agents in the solvents tend to target the neurons in the brain. As a result, the sites for receptor and neurotransmitters, along with other complex biochemical compositions are disrupted. Since, many of the neurons have limited regenerative capacity, a long-term or chronic exposure to solvents leads to permanent loss of the neurons, thereby, causing mental illnesses such as depression.

Besides this, for functioning properly, the brain requires nearly 20 percent of the body’s energy and 15 percent of cardiac output. However, in case of exposure to the toxicants, the solvents reach the bloodstream and cross the blood-brain barrier and get accumulated in the lipid-heavy neurons. This prevents the brain from getting the required energy which further disrupts its functioning and causes disorders such as depression.

Road to recovery

Besides solvents, there are several toxicants such as prescription drugs, pesticides, heavy metals like mercury and lead which can equally cause depression. It is a mental disorder that extends much beyond feeling low or sad. The condition can not only hinder day-to-activity but can also lead to suicide. Therefore, it is important to be vigilant about the symptoms of depression and seek medical assistance immediately.

If you or your loved one is battling depression, the Depression Treatment Centers of California can provide you with information about the best depression treatment facilities in California. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-678-0400 or chat online for further information. Our representatives can also help you find the best residential treatment centers for depression in California.

Read the other articles of the series “Toxicants that trigger depression”:

Part 1: Prescription drugs

Part 2: Pesticides

Part 3: Heavy metals lead and mercury


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