|University of Nevada, Reno
Depression is prevalent in the general population. Because of this, mental health has become a more important aspect of overall well-being. The focus on mental health has helped bridge gaps in medical practice. In terms of patient care, it is important to understand that the body is composed of multiple subsystems that are integrated into one large physiological system. The purpose of this thesis is to provide a thorough understanding of how strong the mind-body connection is, by taking into account both mental and physical health within the realm of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). PNI is the scientific study that bridges psychology to the physiology of the nervous and immune systems. This thesis works to examine the following question: To what extent does stress and depression affect the homeostatic functioning of the nervous and immune systems? The findings suggest that there is a strong, intimate relationship between the mind and the body.