Disrupted Sleep And Other Symptoms: Reinforcing Depressive Feelings
While theyre not often a direct cause, other symptoms of concussion can work in concert with your loss system to worsen or reinforce depressive symptoms. Many post-concussion syndrome patients experience disruption to their sleep, and sleep deprivation itself can result in depressive symptoms. Additionally, the symptoms of depression can make it harder to sleep, so they work together to make everything feel worse.
Being in pain all the time is another factor. Its harder for your brain to believe its safe to go back to normal if its busy reacting to headaches, feelings of overwhelm, brain fog, and so forth.
Finally, all this can lead to altered habits that further contribute to the depressed state. Even though it may be difficult, try to eat well, rest as best you can, and exercise regularly .
Sleep Disturbances And Emotional Issues
The cortisol influx caused by depression can cause your amygdala to enlarge, increasing its activity. Since it helps control your emotions, damage to your amygdala can throw your emotions off balance. You may experience uncontrollable mood fluctuations as a result, causing you to experience both negative and positive emotions very intensely.
An enlarged amygdala doesnt just impede your emotional health and your mood stability its increased activity can also cause other issues, like sleep issues and disturbances. Sleep deprivation, in turn, can worsen your overreactions to stimuli. Poor sleep also causes you to develop a more negative mood and mindset, which can cause your depression to worsen.
Since this creates a feedback loop, issues with your amygdala can be one of the most dangerous things about major depressive disorder.
Conclusion And Future Direction
In vivo MRI scans have made great achievements in the study of psychiatric disorders, which have resulted in the dawn of the understanding of the pathophysiology of psychosis, especially of MDD. Many brain region alterations have been reported, and some crucial circuits have also been revealed via imaging studies. The discovery of brain network put forward new ideas in the understanding of the disease of depression, providing effective stimulation sites and efficacy evaluations for the commonly used transcranial magnetic stimulation or deep brain stimulation techniques. In addition, these findings also suggest that MDD is not only due to local lesions but is also a multiloop disorder. However, previous studies still had limitations, and more research is needed in the future. First, most of the studies mentioned small sample sizes, which could have increased the falsepositive and falsenegative rates of the results. Therefore, multicenter cooperation not only would solve this problem of sample content but also could result in more indepth research. Second, the identification of significant lesions relies on longterm followups and the comparison of treated and nontreated patients. Future studies need to conduct longitudinal studies with larger samples. Moreover, using animal experiments to verify the neuroimaging findings and applying the results to humans is very important and will be a big step in the application of neuroimaging to the clinical field.
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Connective And Structural Changes
When a person experiences depression, it can also cause connective and structural changes to the brain.
Some connective and structural changes include:
- Affecting attention and executive function by reducing the functionality of the prefrontal cortex
- Causing memory impairment by reducing the functionality of the hippocampus
- Affecting emotional regulation and mood by reducing the functionality of the amygdala
How does untreated depression affect the brain? Longer-lasting depression potentially leads to persisting dysfunction in memory, mood, attention, executive function, and emotional regulation.<
What Does This Mean For Treatment
There are two promising and constructive messages to take from this evolving science.
Firstly, these brain changes are reversiblethey can be remedied. Some depression treatments might even trigger the growth ofnew nerve cells and strengthen novel connectionsbetween cells.
Secondly, our understanding of the brain’s biology has helped researchers design targeted and effective depression treatments. This knowledge could deliver treatments to you with a dedicated approach that suits you best.
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The Behavioral Inhibition System: A Common Cause Of Post
Before we discuss what goes wrong because of concussions, we need to explore how your brain is supposed to work.
Each of us has a behavioral activation system and a behavioral inhibition system. They monitor and reward our behavior. When the behavioral inhibition system gets triggered too often, depression can result.
How Behavioral Activation and Inhibition Work
You can think of the behavioral activation system as our brains default setting. It makes us curious and eager to learn. It helps us feel rewarded for mastering a topic or experiencing something pleasurable. Its an important part of why we engage with the world and the people around us.
But in the background, the behavioral inhibition system is monitoring everything we do. Its watching out for loss, and it tells us whenever weve experienced a loss. And if we experience what it believes are too many losses, it pulls back on the reigns, dampening the behavioral activation system.
For example, think of your activities like investments in the stock market. If you invest in stocks and win, you feel great! When you lose, you feel disappointed or maybe even regretful. But when you lose money repeatedly, you might start to reconsider your investments you might even pull out of the stock market altogether because the cost to you is just too high, and there is little or no return on your investments.
How Behavioral Inhibition Leads to Depression After a Concussion
What If Youve Had Depression Before?
How Does Depression Affect The Body
Depression can have various physical manifestations, including headaches, erratic heart rate, nausea, and dizzy spells, fatigue and lethargy, weight loss or gain, muscle pains, allergic reactions, and gastrointestinal problems. Depressed people may either lose appetite or eat too much food. Depression can also further complicate symptoms of pre-existing medical conditions such as heart or kidney disease.
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When Somethings Wrong But Its Not Depression
Sometimes, patients feel down but arent experiencing depression. In these cases, theyre often aware that theyre not exactly depressed, but that theres still something wrong. Often, what theyre really experiencing is grief.
You may be familiar with the five facets of grief: denial, bargaining, anger, sadness, and acceptance. Not everyone experiences all five, and they might not experience them in that order they might bounce back and forth between the five facets.
The sadness stage of grief has some similarities to clinical depression: You may experience feelings of loss, emptiness, and sadness. You might even experience some disinterest. But key differences between grief and depression are feelings of worthlessness, low motivation, apathy, meaninglessness, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts. Depression sufferers often have these features whereas those suffering from grief generally dont.
When grief is at the heart of your mood, your depression-like symptoms often will resolve more quickly than depression once youve been through treatment for post-concussion syndrome. Because grief doesnt activate the behavioral inhibition system as strongly as depression does, these patients often have an easier time experiencing reward and joy from returning to normal activities.
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How Stress Affects The Body
Stress can be defined as an automatic physical response to any stimulus that requires you to adjust to change. Every real or perceived threat to your body triggers a cascade of stress hormones that produces physiological changes. We all know the sensations: your heart pounds, muscles tense, breathing quickens, and beads of sweat appear. This is known as the stress response.
The stress response starts with a signal from the part of your brain known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus joins the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands to form a trio known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which governs a multitude of hormonal activities in the body and may play a role in depression as well.
When a physical or emotional threat looms, the hypothalamus secretes corticotropin-releasing hormone , which has the job of rousing your body. Hormones are complex chemicals that carry messages to organs or groups of cells throughout the body and trigger certain responses. CRH follows a pathway to your pituitary gland, where it stimulates the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone , which pulses into your bloodstream. When ACTH reaches your adrenal glands, it prompts the release of cortisol.
The boost in cortisol readies your body to fight or flee. Your heart beats faster up to five times as quickly as normal and your blood pressure rises. Your breath quickens as your body takes in extra oxygen. Sharpened senses, such as sight and hearing, make you more alert.
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The Effects Of Depression In Your Body
Depression is one of the most common mental health illnesses in the United States, affecting about 26 percent of adults. Depression is technically a mental disorder, but it also affects your physical health and well-being. Learn more about some of the most common symptoms of depression, as well as how depression can affect your entire body, especially if left untreated.
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.
How Does Depression Affect Memory
The hippocampus is the brains memory center. When depression goes untreated the hippocampuss structure experiences a structural change. Studies have noted that a decrease in the hippocampal volume is a biological hallmark of depression. When the hippocampus is underperforming, the ability of someone to recall working or long term memories is decreased.
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Onset Of Depression More Complex Than A Brain Chemical Imbalance
It’s often said that depression results from a chemical imbalance, but that figure of speech doesn’t capture how complex the disease is. Research suggests that depression doesn’t spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems. It’s believed that several of these forces interact to bring on depression.
To be sure, chemicals are involved in this process, but it is not a simple matter of one chemical being too low and another too high. Rather, many chemicals are involved, working both inside and outside nerve cells. There are millions, even billions, of chemical reactions that make up the dynamic system that is responsible for your mood, perceptions, and how you experience life.
With this level of complexity, you can see how two people might have similar symptoms of depression, but the problem on the inside, and therefore what treatments will work best, may be entirely different.
What follows is an overview of the current understanding of the major factors believed to play a role in the causes of depression.
How Can Tms Treatment Change The Brain
TMS uses magnetic pulses that stimulate neural activity inregions of the brain that are underactive in patients coping with depression.
During TMS, an electromagnetic coil is placed on a patients head, near the left temple. Magnetic pulses are sent to underactive regions of the patients brain, thus activating regions of the brain where there is reduced activity that may contribute to depressive symptoms.
The use of magnetic pulses in TMS may help depression patients relieve their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
TMS may result in long-lasting activation of parts of the brain responsible for mood. Plus, TMS is generally safe and well-tolerated, does not require the use of medication, and has minimal side effects in contrast to many other depression therapy options.
Achieve TMS has performed TMS therapy on more than 10,000 patients across 350,000 treatment sessions. To date, depression patients who have received TMS have reported a 49% remission rate and a 70% response rate after treatment.
Our expert medical clinicians are happy to teach patients coping with depression about TMS and help them determine if this therapy can be used to manage depressive symptoms. To learn more or to schedule a consultation,please contact us online, or call or text us at 877-285-0822.
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.
Stress Shrinks The Brain
Even among otherwise healthy people, stress can lead to shrinkage in areas of the brain associated with the regulation of emotions, metabolism, and memory.
While people often associate negative outcomes to sudden, intense stress created by life-altering events , researchers actually suggest that it is the everyday stress that we all seem to face that, over time, can contribute to a wide range of mental disorders.
In one study, researchers from Yale University looked at 100 healthy participants who provided information about the stressful events in their lives. The researchers observed that exposure to stress, even very recent stress, led smaller gray matter in the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain linked to such things as self-control and emotions.
Chronic, everyday stress appeared to have little impact on brain volume on its own but may make people more vulnerable to brain shrinkage when they are faced with intense, traumatic stressors.
The accumulation of stressful life events may make it more challenging for these individuals to deal with future stress, particularly if the next demanding event requires effortful control, emotion regulation, or integrated social processing to overcome it, explained the studys lead author, Emily Ansell.
Different kinds of stress affect the brain in different ways. Recent stressful events affect emotional awareness. Traumatic events have a greater impact on mood centers.
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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.
How Does Depression Affect Work
Loss of concentration and enthusiasm, forgetfulness, fatigue, lack of sleep, and other debilitating effects of depression can decrease a persons productivity at work. This is bad news for the economy. A recent study on the impacts of clinical depression in a workplace showed that about $44 billion is lost every year due to depression and resulting poor productivity among employees.
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How Depression Affects The Brain: It Can Shrink
How depression affects the brain can also be physical.
Research has shown that people who experience depression have smaller regions in their brain than those who do not.
This means that your brain can shrink in actual size. The full effects of such shrinkage is unknown.
However, the latest research has pinpointed a few parts of the brain which are affected by depression.
The parts of the brain that might shrink due to depression include,
- the hippocampus which controls memory and learning
- the amygdala which governs our strong emotions like fear and pleasure
- the frontal lobe which controls our behavior
- the prefrontal cortices which govern our personality
- our decision making
- and moderates our social behavior.
The devastating effect of how depression affects the brain means that when these parts of the brain shrink, so do the abilities associated with that part.
People Suffering From Depression Run The Risk That Their Brains Shrink And Will Remain Smaller After The Disease Is Over The Discovery Provides New Knowledge About The Brain And New Understanding Of How Antidepressants Work
A depression not only makes a person feel sad and dejected it can also damage the brain permanently, so the person has difficulties remembering and concentrating once the disease is over. Up to 20 percent of depression patients never make a full recovery.
These are the conclusions of two projects conducted by Professor Poul Videbech, a specialist in psychiatry at the Centre for Psychiatric Research at Aarhus University Hospital.
In one of the projects he scanned the brains of people suffering from depression, and in the other he conducted a systematic review of all the scientific literature on the subject.
My review shows that a depression leaves its mark on the brain as it results in a ten percent reduction of the hippocampus, he says. In some cases, this reduction continues when the depression itself is over.
Antidepressants can help
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Can Brain Changes Be Reversed
Knowing how does depression affect the brain is important, but it is equally important to know if you can reverse those changes. Fortunately, it is possible to reverse those changes with the help of proper treatment for depression.
1. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise improves mental health by boosting the production of “feel good” hormones and normalizing insulin resistance in the body. It also helps boost neurotransmitters that are directly associated with mood control, such as serotonin, endorphins, glutamate, dopamine, and GABA . You can also eliminate stress chemicals through regular exercise. Moreover, it helps increase the volume of gray matter in hippocampus, which can improve the brain’s ability to produce new cells, thus reversing the damage done to your hippocampus.
2. Pay Attention to Your Diet
How does depression affect the brain? Now you know the answer, then how to reverse the brain changes? What you eat can affect the way your brain works. If you are already under stress, eating wrong types of foods is only going to make matters worse. Many people tend to overeat when they are depressed, so you need to keep an eye on how much you eat. Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, and some best choices are tuna and salmon. Similarly, foods that contain folic acid such as avocado and spinach may also help ease depression.
3. Get Enough Sleep
4. Do Not Ignore Your Responsibilities
5. Overcome Negative Thoughts
6. Keep Yourself Busy