A single standard of care for chronic brain inflammation has not been clearly established; instead, patients do best with individualized care. Usually a multidisciplinary approach to treatment is needed, with collaboration between neurologists, rheumatologists, psychiatrists, and immunologists and approaches from medication to counseling.
Treatments for brain inflammation
Treatment strategies vary greatly and depend on the specific set of symptoms presented by each unique patient. Medications for post-infectious or autoimmune inflammation can include:
- antidepressants and antipsychotics
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg)
- plasma exchange
When psychiatric symptoms are unusually resistant to psychiatric medications, consider the possibility of an inflammatory process. This is supported by the fact that immune modulation can improve symptoms independent of psychiatric medications in patients with neuroinflammation.
Emotional, psychological and social support
Non-pharmacological treatments are often used as first-line therapies, particularly when the underlying cause of brain inflammation is unknown. These may include:
- Psychological counseling services such as cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Nutritional therapy
- Occupational and physical therapy
- Academic support
- Family counseling and supportive services
Along with other lifestyle adjustments, these interventions can help make daily life a little easier.
That said, it is critical to address the underlying causes of brain inflammation.
Immune modulation: the future of treating brain inflammation?
When autoimmune processes are suspected, treatments addressing the immune system are typically recommended as a first-line treatment. However, the challenge of brain inflammation is understanding—and acknowledging—any immunological underpinnings.
New investigations seek to improve diagnosis, including the use of blood cytokine markers, genetic testing, and large data science repositories to track disease. Research into treatments addressing immune dysregulation, including monoclonal antibodies, give hope for those with brain inflammation. The aim is healthier outcomes for future generations.