Oxidative stress is an imbalance between cellular production of reactive oxygen species and the counteracting antioxidant mechanisms. The brain with its high oxygen consumption and a lipid-rich environment is considered highly susceptible to oxidative stress or redox imbalances. Therefore, the fact that oxidative stress is implicated in several mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, is not surprising. Although several elegant studies have established a link between oxidative stress and psychiatric disorders, the causal relationship between oxidative stress and psychiatric diseases is not fully determined. Another critical aspect that needs much attention and effort is our understanding of the association between cellular oxidative stress and emotional stress. This review examines some of the recent discoveries that link oxidative status with anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A discussion of published results and questions that currently exist in the field regarding a causal relationship between oxidative and emotional stress is also provided.
Keywords: Psychological stress; anxiety; depression.; oxidative stress.