The Toll Depression Takes On The Body
Depression is much more than just a brain disorder. It causes physical symptoms and can cause lasting damage to the body because of both direct effects and indirect complications of living with this mental illness. For instance, depression can change your appetite. It may trigger you to eat less and lose an unhealthy amount of weight. Or it can cause you to eat more, leading to weight gain and associated health conditions.
You may also experience chronic pain as a result of depression. Unexplained aches and pains, like headaches, back pain, or joint tenderness, can be triggered by depression. Although not fully understood, it may be that depression makes you less tolerant of pain, so that everything just hurts more.
Living with depression puts you at risk for serious physical health conditions, including heart disease and stroke. The reason for this may be that depression triggers an overproduction of clotting factors and variation in heart rate. These are both factors that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Gastrointestinal distress is a potential complication of depression. The gut actually has a major connection to mood and mental health and is sometimes referred to as the bodys second brain. There are important receptors in the gut and an ecosystem of bacteria, which when out of whack can affect mood. If you are depressed, you may experience stomach aches, indigestion, nausea, cramps, or bloating.
Medical Procedures Which Affect The Brain And Help With Depression
Apart from using medications, there are also some other medical procedures that affect the brain and help ease the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder. These medical procedures include:
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation – Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a process that involves sending electrical pulses directly to the brain cells for regulating mood.
Electroconvulsive Therapy – Electroconvulsive Therapy involves passing electrical currents throughout the brain in order to increase the level of communication between the brain cells, which helps with depression.
Researchers and experts also believe that psychotherapy also has a role to play in altering the structure of the brain, thus relieving the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder. Psychotherapy especially helps in strengthening the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
How To Fight Depression
Depression is very common, but there are lots of ways to treat it.
Unfortunately, clinical depression can be dismissed as a trivial illness, with friends and relatives telling sufferers to get out more or to pull themselves together.
This attitude doesnt help and can cause more problems.
Depression is treated according to its severity in three different ways.
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Depression Affects Your Whole Body
Brain chemicals affect your body as well as your mood. So depression may do more than just make you feel low. You may also feel bad physically. Depression can:
Cause trouble with mental tasks such as remembering, concentrating, or making decisions
Make you feel nervous and jumpy
Cause trouble sleeping. Or you may sleep too much.
Change your appetite
Cause headaches, stomachaches, or other aches and pains
Drain your body of energy
The Effects Of Depression In Your Body
Depression is one of the most common mental health illnesses in the United States, affecting about
Feeling sad or anxious at times is a normal part of life, but if these feelings last more than two weeks they could be symptoms of depression. Its estimated that each year 17 million American adults will experience depression. However, clinical depression, especially left untreated, can interrupt your day-to-day life and cause a ripple effect of additional symptoms.
Depression affects how you feel and can also cause changes in your body. Major depression is considered a serious medical condition that may have a dramatic effect on your quality of life.
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How Does Depression Cause Memory Loss
Scientists think theres a link between depression and memory loss because several studies have found that people with depression are less able to take in new information.
For example, studies on people with depression indicate that depressed individuals struggle to match objects on a screen with ones they had previously seen.
Scientists think this is happening because the hippocampus, the part of the brain that deals with emotions and memory, shrinks.
MRI scans show reduced brain activity in the hippocampus, but its not known exactly why depression causes this reaction. Researchers suggest that floods of cortisol upset hormone balances, cause biochemical changes, and interrupt neurotransmitters.
And dont forget that depression often means a lack of quality sleep. Memory loss and the ability to think coherently are made even worse through tiredness.
Anxiety And Depression: How They Affect The Body And Brain
Nobody knows without a doubt how depression arises, yet scientists have established that it is unquestionably a turmoil that has organic roots and that the science of the cerebrum assumes a major job.
Scientists have uncovered through studies the different ways in which depression affects our body and brain.
;1. Memory issues to counter depression, the hormone cortisol is released from the hippocampus that is a part of the brain. Continually flooding the brain with cortisol produces a counter-effective response where new neurons stop growing in the hippocampus. If new neurons dont grow in the hippocampus, it results in the shrinking of that part that ultimately results in memory loss.
;2. Hormonal changes Amygdala swells up in response when cortisol fills the brain. The emotional state of the person is controlled by Amygdala. Upon swelling up, it becomes more active and releases more hormones than necessary; hence, it results in sleeping problems, mood swings, etc.
;3. Swelling in the brain scientists are still not sure how brain inflammation and depression are related to each other. But its quite clear that brain inflammation is often observed in people diagnosed with depression. This causes issues with learning and remembering things.
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Structural And Connective Changes
As mentioned earlier, depression can cause shrinkage to specific areas of the brain and therefore cause their dysfunction.;;
For example, reduced functionality of the;prefrontal cortex can affect their executive function and attention, dysfunction of the amygdala can affect emotional regulation and mood and reduced hippocampal functionality can cause memory issues.;
These changes usually take a;minimum of 8 months;to develop and;may persist for longer periods;after longer-lasting depressive episodes, particularly affecting memory emotional regulation, mood, and attention.;
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Tms For A Healthy Brain
Here at Brain Center TMS, we offer Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation .
This non-invasive technique sends short magnetic pulses into your brain. The pulses generate a safe electric current inside your brain.
rTMS can help restore function in the hippocampus, thalamus, and amygdala. It targets regions affected by depression to improve communication between your synapses.
Research shows that rTMS can help neurons form new connections. This can help patients recover normal chemical and electrical messaging.
Have you heard the saying that humans are creatures of habit? Well, our brains are no exception! When certain brain processes happen repeatedly over time, they can become the default.
Just like you can create new habits, you can also create new and healthier patterns in your brain. If you struggle with negative thought patterns, rTMS might be the right option for you.
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Areas Of The Brain Affected By Depression
How depression affects the brain is multifaceted, and many areas of the brain may be impacted. Research has lead us to believe that depression affects the following areas of the brain:
These all must be addressed when taking a comprehensive approach to answering the question: how does depression affect the brain? When specific areas of the brain arent functioning properly, we can see many changes in behaviors and thought processes. Some of the more significant changes which capture what depression feels like include, but are not limited to:
- Increased anxiety
- Change is speech patterns
Effects Of Depression On The Brain
Thanks to advances in medical technology, researchers have been able to track down the exact areas of the brain that are impacted by severe depression, and in turn, the areas that affect depression. As a result, studies show that the three areas that are most affected are the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex.
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What Is Samhsas National Helpline
SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
Also visit the online treatment locators.
Brain Areas Involved In Depression
Several brain areas in particular seem to play a major role in the development of depression symptoms.;
The amygdala, located deep in the center of the brain, is involved in many emotional responses including activating the brain and bodys fear response. This area tends to have increased activity in people with depression.;
Research has also shown that some areas of the brain appear to shrink and thus function less well in people with chronic depression. These areas include the hippocampus, which is involved in long-term memory, and the thalamus, which regulates sleep and wake cycles and handles sensory and motor input.;;Its important to note that, while chemical imbalances and other brain mechanisms are involved in depression, they alone dont cause depression. Genetics, traumatic experiences, medical conditions, chronic stress and even personal characteristics can make someone more likely to develop depression.
Some people are more emotionally reactive and feel their feelings more strongly, says Areán. That alone doesnt necessarily mean they will develop a mental illness, but they may be at higher risk in situations where they dont have much control.;
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Residential Treatment Provides A Space To Heal
One of the most important reasons to choose residential care for depression treatment is that it gives you the space, the time, and the opportunity to truly focus on healing. There are no distractions of home, work, and other responsibilities, only a safe place to get better. The damage that depression has done to your brain and body can be slowed, stopped, and even reversed with good care.
The most effective treatment for depression is a combination of therapy and medications, both of which take time to work. This is another reason that residential treatment is a smart choice for depression care. It gives you time to develop a rapport with a therapist and to make positive changes. It also gives you a chance to try one or more antidepressants to find the medication that will adjust your brain chemicals in just the right way for maximum impact with fewest side effects.
Getting relief from depression through treatment will immediately begin to help your brain, reversing the shrinking of certain areas, the inflammation, and the overflow of cortisol. This in turn will help you feel better overall, and you will begin to get relief for the physical symptoms.
Bridges to Recovery offers comprehensive treatment for people struggling with mental health disorders as well as co-occurring substance use disorders. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Los Angeles-based program and how we can help you or your loved one start on the path to lasting wellness.
How To Cure Depression At Home
You can alter your behavior little by little and have a massive impact on your lifestyle. These lifestyle changes can help in ways unimaginable. So lets talk about how to beat depression.
Make a routine having a structured life is very important to beat depression. Make a proper schedule to get back to your daily life.
Make goals for the day accomplish tasks that make you feel good and motivate you to perform better. Little by little, start creating challenging goals as well.
Changes in sleep pattern depression can create problems in sleeping patterns causing it hard to sleep or get up. Hence, its necessary to make a solid set of sleep patterns.
Dont take tension, take action
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What Can Be Done About Depression After Tbi
If you have symptoms of depression, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible, preferably with a health care provider who is familiar with TBI. Depression is not a sign of weakness, and it is not anyones fault. Depression can be a medical problem, just like high blood pressure or diabetes. You cannot get over depression by simply wishing it away, using more willpower or toughening up. It is best to get treatment early to prevent needless suffering and worsening symptoms.
If you have thoughts of suicide, get help right away.; If you have strong thoughts of suicide and a suicide plan, call a local crisis line, 911, the 24-hour National Crisis Hotline at;800-273-8255, or go to an emergency room immediately.
The good news is that certain antidepressant medications and psychotherapy treatments, or a combination of the two, can help most people who have depression.
How Common Is Depression After Tbi
Depression is a common problem after TBI. About half of all people with TBI are affected by depression within the first year after injury. Even more are affected within seven years after injury. In the general population, the rate of depression is much lower, affecting fewer than one person in 10 over a one-year period. More than half of the people with TBI who are depressed also have significant anxiety.
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Our Brain And Memory Functions Are Damaged By Depression
Depression has a significant effect on your brain and memory. These effects are collectively called cognitive dysfunction.
Cognitive dysfunction means your brain is not working as well as it could. People living with cognitive dysfunction say it feels like theyre lost in the fog; they forget things frequently and feel confused.
How Does Depression Affect The Brain
Sometimes, it feels like our emotions come out of nowhere. When you are struggling with depression, emotions might even seem like an outside force you cant control.
If youve ever wondered about the origin of your feelings, youre in the right place. Science has shown that emotions are the result of brain activity.
Your brain is full of tiny cells called neurons. Neurons are connected through channels known as synapses. Neurons use synapses to send information to other neurons. They send this information using chemicals or electric pulses.
So how does depression affect the brain? It turns out that a persons brain structure can change as a result of depression.
Scientists think that changes in your brains communication network can alter normal thinking patterns. Over time, this can lead to changes in the brains structure, strengthening or weakening certain pathways in the neural network.
New brain imaging technology has taught us more about how depression affects the brain. In this article, we will discuss which parts of the brain are affected and how.
Keep reading to learn more about depression and the brain, and to explore the revolutionary treatment options here at Brain Center TMS.
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More Than Sad: Depression Affects Your Ability To Think
- By James Cartreine, PhD, Contributing Editor
ARCHIVED CONTENT:;As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.;
When you think of clinical depression, you probably think of feeling sad and down for long periods of time; losing your energy and your interest in things you used to enjoy; sleeping too much or too little, or eating too much or too little. But besides these, depression can actually change your ability to think. It can impair your attention and memory, as well as your information processing and decision-making skills. It can also lower your cognitive flexibility and executive functioning .
For people with severe depression, medications can provide some relief of low mood and energy, bolster the motivation to engage in enjoyable and important activities, and help people return to normal sleeping and eating patterns.
But we dont know whether antidepressant medications treat cognitive impairment related to depression. Recently, an international research team attempted to answer this question as part of a larger study on depression treatment. Their results were published in The Lancet last month.
What Treatments Address Chemical And Connectivity Issues
Knowing which brain connections are affected has helped to unravel some of the mysteries of depression. Now, it is driving game-changing treatment options.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation is anon-invasive and non-drug form of brain stimulationthat goes far beyond correcting one chemical imbalance or one disrupted network connection. Instead, it addresses the complex brain changes of depressionthose neurotransmitter and connectivity issues discussed earlier.
TMS applies highly focused magnetic pulses to brain regions that are crucial in the regulation of mood. Those focused magnetic pulses result in activation of the nerves in that area of the brain, which when given over time, can correct imbalances in function. Research supports its ability to form new connections between nerve cells affected by depression, including those within thehippocampus. It can help to relieve some, or even all, depression symptoms in many patients.
Understanding the science of depression has taken years, and there is still much more to learn. But in our quest to answer those vital questionshow does depression affect the brain, and what chemical imbalance causes depressionwe have uncovered tailored treatments that acknowledge everyone’s unique experiences.
This personalized knowledge can empower you to finally navigate your way toward recovery. Just like those airport hubs with their temporary flight delays, there are ways to get back on track once again.
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