Functional Medicine Meridian ID Can Chronic Stress Cause Depression

Can chronic stress cause depression in Meridian ID or is it part of life and you must suck it up and move on?

In the post we are going to review:

  • What stress actually is versus what initially comes to mind?
  • How does our body respond to stress and difference between acute
    and chronic stress?
  • How stress impacts the brain and leads to depression?


When you hear the word stress and potential causes what do you think of?

If you are like most then you will likely immediately think of:

  • Financial
  • Job
  • Relationships
  • Family
  • Society
  • Social Media

If so, then you are right as these are all potential causes of stress but is that fully accurate?

When you think of the word stress, I want you to imagine anything that challenges the body.

Here are a list of things that you may or may not have thought about and you could add more.


Imagine any of the causes of stress above and think about how one of these you have dealt with impacted you over a short period of time versus months and years.

What comes to mind when you do that? For me, I think about something that creates frustration but I know there is an end and can keep my focus. When it doesn’t end, frustration impacts every aspect of our lives. It impacts our ability to be a good parent, spouse, and anything else we consider important from work to to church to coaching. It is this burden that constantly weighs on us and impedes who we are and takes away from joy and happiness.

So, what happens in the body?

We will use emotional stress as that is the one that most people think of. This response is different depending on what causes stress but in the next section we’ll discuss how it doesn’t matter because in the brain it’s a different story.

When you have an emotional stress your body shifts to a state of survival and wants to ready resources. Your brain signals to your adrenal glands to release cortisol, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Cortisol is going to signal to the body to break down stored forms of glucose. This is going to supply you with the fuel you need to function. Norepinephrine and epinephrine will increase your heart rate, raise blood pressure, and make sure you can rise to the challenge.

This is exactly what we want to happen when we play sports, lifting weights, or fighting for our lives.

When this happens too long it goes from being beneficial in the acute phase to destructive in the chronic phase.

Discussing what it does in the body could easily be multiple blog posts, but here are some areas that are impacted.

  • Hormones
  • Blood Sugar
  • Thyroid
  • Digestive Health
  • Immune Health Weakened
  • Infertility


Everything we have discussed up to this point in time has got you ready for this.

When looking at depression research related to the brain’s immune system, there is one area that is rapidly growing and is the 2nd most common topic researched. This is the effect of chronic mild stress on depression, yes mild stress. There doesn’t have to be assault, witnessing murder, rape, or anything else severe to impact the brain.

We will work through this picture.

Graphic from: Li, B., Yang, W., Ge, T., Wang, Y., & Cui, R. (2022). Stress induced microglial activation contributes to depression. Pharmacological research, 179, 106145.

As we have previously talked about, there are different types of stress and the body responds to it differently. When we look at the immune cells in the brain, known as the microglia cells, we no longer see a difference in response from infection, to trauma, to abuse, or anything else.

When we see the microglia activation this creates an inflammatory response that impacts: brain connections, brain efficiency, and generation of new brain cells. Ultimately this can lead to depression.


You are wondering what can be done to address chronic stress. The key is to have a plan that helps you to identify the causes of the stress so it stops signaling the immune cells in the brain to create more inflammation.

There isn’t a magic bullet but there is a process.

The process we bring each individual through is our BMB Method, where we evaluate the health of the brain, mind, and body. When all of these areas are evaluated a customized plan that is tailored to your needs can be made.

We routinely see individuals improve when they follow this process.

If you are sick of dealing with depression or having chronic stress control your life then contact us today to get started.