About Sickness Syndrome


According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., affecting over 14 million American adults. One of the most common treatments for depression is antidepressant medications that are associated with short and long-term side effects, and which fail to address the underlying cause of depression and other mood disorders.

Sickness Syndrome depression is a newly identified condition that causes depression and is related to chronic stress, inflammation and its impact on the brain. Interestingly 90% of US doctors office visits today are due to conditions caused by chronic stress.

Sickness Syndrome is comprised of a set of symptoms, most notably symptoms related to depression, directly caused by peripheral inflammatory cytokines that trigger the local production of inflammatory cytokines in the brain, namely IL-1 and TNF alpha.


Discovery of Sickness Syndrome

Dr. Gina Cushman, NMD, PhD, the Medical Director and Founder of HealthBridge Medical Center identified Sickness Syndrome depression and the mechanisms involved that link inflammation in the brain to depression.

Dedicating the past ten years to researching the relationship between stress, inflammation and depression, Dr. Gina, in an unexpected and inspired series of medical discoveries, identified the mechanisms involved in Sickness Syndrome depression.

The incidence of Sickness Syndrome depression was first noted when patients treated with recombinant cytokines as an immunotherapy displayed mood disorders and cognitive disturbances atypical of the symptoms of the sickness being treated. These non-specific symptoms are directly caused by peripheral inflammatory cytokines that trigger the local production of inflammatory cytokines in the brain, namely IL-1 and TNF alpha , and most often specifically develop in patients suffering from somatic diseases with an inflammatory component such as cancer, coronary heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, stroke and various neuropathologies.

However, Dr. Gina also discovered that Sickness Syndrome can be triggered by other illnesses and conditions, such as chronic stress, adrenal fatigue, blood sugar imbalance, obesity, infection, and estrogen deficiency, all of which increase the production of peripheral inflammatory cytokines and weaken the body’s ability to function at its optimum level.


Treatment Info

Individualized Approach

Dr. Gina utilizes a comprehensive suite of laboratory testing, physical examination, and symptom analysis to develop a customized treatment plan that is unique to each patient. The treatment plan incorporates individualized nutrition plans, allergy treatment, orthomolecular nutrient therapies, and natural hormonal support.


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