At Clinic Les Alpes, we treat addictions, associated or not with mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and burnout. We are convinced of the importance of the link between these pathologies and the intestinal microbiota. The consideration of the microbiota has become an important element in the overall management of our patients.
Intestinal health is an issue of increasing interest to the medical community. Thousands of different microorganisms coexist in our intestines and help us in the difficult task of assimilating all the nutrients we need. This set of microorganisms constitutes the intestinal microbiota. Many studies have shown that it plays a fundamental role in a wide range of diseases such as obesity, intestinal inflammation, psoriasis, and in certain mental disorders.
Just as the microbiome influences us, we also influence it with our diet, our physical activity, stress, medication intake (antibiotics, antacides), and ultimately, our own age. All these factors determine our bacterial community.
Psychiatry’s interest in the microbiota is relatively recent. It results from many scientific studies that show that stress factors disrupt the digestive barrier, making it more permeable, allowing bacteria to pass through the intestinal mucosa and into the blood. This leads to an immune response, and the production of pro-inflammatory molecules in the intestine, which travel to the brain. This brain inflammation disrupts the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine. Dysbiosis therefore influences brain function: the emergence of a depressive illness, the severity of depressive or anxious symptoms. Probiotic therapies improve the symptoms of depression, anxiety or burn-out by rebalancing the microbiota.
The link between the intestinal microbiota and addictions is still poorly studied. Today, the focus is on alcohol dependence, since it is definitely established that it alters the digestive barrier. Alcohol-dependent patients with a high degree of disruption of the digestive barrier are those who suffer from the most severe depressive and anxiety disorders, and the strongest desire to drink. They are also the patients most at risk of recurrence after withdrawal.
The biological examinations at our disposal at Clinic Les Alpes allow us to study the intestinal permeability and the composition of the microbiota. Medical and dietary management of diagnosed disorders is an important tool in our overall therapeutic approach.