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What Happens In The Brain During Depression

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What Are Neurotransmitters

What happens in the Brain During Depression

Put simply, neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the brain. The nerve cells of the brain use neurotransmitters to communicate with each other. The messages they send are believed to play a role in mood regulation.

The space between two nerve cells is called the synapse. When cells want to communicate, neurotransmitters can be packaged up and released from the end of a presynaptic cell. As a packet of neurotransmitters crosses the space, it can be taken up by receptors for a specific chemical on postsynaptic cells . For example, serotonin receptors pick up serotonin molecules.

If there are any excess molecules in the space, the presynaptic cell will gather them back up and reprocess them to use in another communication. Each type of neurotransmitter can carry a different message and plays a unique role in creating an individual’s brain chemistry. Imbalances in these chemicals may contribute to mental health conditions such as depression.

The Importance Of Empathy

The brain has various defense mechanisms for handling sadness.;After all, this is one of the most recognizable emotion in humans.;When you see someone, you immediately know if theyre suffering from it or not. In other words, you will develop empathy for them.

This dimension allows you to support people that are sad. Everyone knows how helpful it is to have friends or family members who support us.

It is interesting to note that empathy tends to be more developed in women.

What Happens In Your Brain When You Are Depressed

03 October, 2018

The brain is a magnificent organ that were still learning a lot of things about. For example, scientists are still discovering how certain emotions affect the brain.

Depression is one of them.

The truth is that there will be times that you are depressed or sad over the course of your life, as well as personal events that will test you.

Sadness is a basic human emotion, just like happiness, fear, or anger.;Experiencing it means that your brain is acting differently and producing a series of effects at the same time that youre not always conscious of.;You may feel;hungrier or more tired, try to search for;solitude, or cry more.

You might be interested in learning the purpose of all of these changes in your body. This way, you can better know how you can;face sadness;the healthy way;in order to get out of this situation as soon as possible. As a result, you can prevent a more serious illness, like clinical depression.

In this article, well take a look at just that.

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What Causes Depression: Brain Chemistry

You might have heard that depression stems from a chemical imbalance, and thats partly true. In people with depression, the levels of certain brain chemicals are thought to be out of balance, particularly these neurotransmitters:

Antidepressant medications are believed to work, in part, by helping correct these brain chemical imbalances.

While serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine have long been considered the big three neurotransmitters involved in depression, recent research suggests that what causes depression may be more complicated than just having not enough or too much of these neurotransmitters in certain parts of the brain.

Frontal Lobes Atrophy Too

What happens in the brain during depression?

The hippocampus gets lots of attention for this shrinkage. But as noted above, another part of the brain may also shrink during depression: the frontal lobes. Though they are much bigger than the hippocampus, they are studied less often in regard to this shrinkage process, in part because their size makes them harder to evaluate as precisely as the hippocampus, and in part because rats have hippocampi, but they dont have big frontal lobes like us, so frontal lobe changes cannot be studied except in humans who are in general much harder to study than rats! But in studies that have looked at brain shrinkage in both areas, the frontal lobe seems to be undergoing the same changes as the hippocampus. Since the frontal lobes are directly involved in managing emotional reactions, as well as focusing attention , shrinking frontal lobes is just as important as shrinking hippocampi. So keep in mind that it is not just the hippocampi involved in this process.

Before we jump to the next chapter, to look at just how this shrinkage seems to happen , here are two interesting recent additions to this atrophy story. Both made national news thus I heard of them in that famous journal of medicine, my local Corvallis Gazette-Times!

Now lets take a look at the current understanding of just how these shape changes are occurring in depression.

On to Chapter 7: Why do some parts of the brain atrophy during major depression?

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Adopt A Mindfulness Practice

Finally, you have to take care of your mind if you want it to work properly.Countless studies have found the link between positive mental health and meditation or some other type of mindfulness exercise. By focusing your attention on the present moment and just sinking into the bliss that each uninterrupted second of meditation allows, you can actually restructure your brain and eliminate depression. In fact, many studies have found meditation to rival medication in treating depression.

Stress As A Trigger For Depression

Although the onset of depressive episodes can typically be traced to high levels of stress, stress alone is not enough. All of us are exposed to stressors, admittedly of varying intensity and duration, but only some of us develop major depression. Its really a failure to;cope;with stress that can trigger the descent into depression.

The stress response itself occurs primarily within the so-called HPA axis, involving the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal cortex . Ultimately, the adrenal cortex releases glucocorticoids, which have effects throughout the body on metabolism and immune function, amongst other things. Glucocorticoids also inhibit earlier steps of the stress response within the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, preventing the system from becoming overactive.

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Current And Future Depression Treatments

Understanding the chemistry of depression may help people better understand the treatments available. While psychotherapy is helpful for some people with depression, if there is a chemical imbalance in the brain, it may not be enough to address their symptoms.

If a person finds that therapy alone is not helping them manage their depression, they may want to try medication. For some people, antidepressants combined with psychotherapy proves especially effective for addressing their symptoms.

To complicate treatment further, medication does not always work for people with depression. One study evaluating the effectiveness of currently available antidepressants found that these medications only work in about 60% of people with depression.

Even if your depression is primarily linked to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, depression affects both your internal and external life. Therefore, medication alone may not be sufficient to address all the ways in which depression can affect you.

There is also research that suggests neurotransmitter levels can be affected by factors other than medication and that psychotherapy can help a person learn about them. For example, stress may contribute to low levels of certain neurotransmitters.

While taking an antidepressant medication might help with the symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily address the cause of the low levels. In this situation, therapy to improve stress management and reduce stress could potentially be helpful.

Negative Thoughts Might Help Us With Problem

Brain Changes in Depression

Many people who feel depressed experience negative rumination’;. But this overthinking about bad stuff could actually help us solve important, complex problems!

According to this theory, we might experience changes in our brain or body that stop us getting distracted, so we can focus on our stressful problems.;

These changes include some familiar symptoms of depression like low energy and no interest in things we used to enjoy.;If this theory is right, these periods of negative rumination were evolved to last a short time, and once we solved a problem, we would start to feel better.

But modern life is very complicated! If people are trying to deal with overwhelming problems they cant solve for a long period of time, they might get stuck and feel depressed long-term.;

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Other Questions About Depression

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Avoid Harmful Situations And Live And Learn

A sad brain generates less serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with motivation.;If youre unable to move on from a period of sadness by making new decisions and accepting what happened, this deficit in serotonin could cause you to suffer from illnesses like depression.

However, to overcome this, you must be strong and find new resources to move on in these times of self-reflection.

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What Causes Depression The Truth Is Many Mental Disorders Are Produced By Physical Changes In The Brain Or Body

What causes depression? Multiple factors can contribute, among them chemical imbalances involving the “big three” neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

What causes depression? is a question many of us have asked. Responses are all over the map, but its fair to say that depression is a disease. Research supports this by demonstrating key differences in the brains of those who are depressed and those who are not.

Is Oversleeping A Symptom Of Depression

How Depression Changes Your Brain (And Ways to Reverse It)

Its important to remember that oversleeping is a possible symptom of depression and that oversleeping doesnt cause depression. But it can exacerbate and worsen depression symptoms, Dr. Drerup explains. If someones oversleeping, they may wake up and feel like theyve missed out on the day, she says.

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Why Does A Major Depressive Disorder Change Your Brain

When you suffer from depression, your brain is physically changed. Research by the National Institutes of Health shows that you lose gray matter volume when you suffer from depression. This loss is caused by parts of your brain shrinking due to the hormone cortisol impeding the growth of your brain cells.

The more serious depression a person suffers, the more GMV they lose. Since GMV contains most of your neurons or nerve cells, slowed growth means that your cognitive capabilities are at risk of impairment.

What Happens In Brain During Depression

If you think you are a patient of Depressions or anxiety, then you should read this article. This article well will discuss what medical professionals, doctors, scientists, and Psychiatrist In Jaipur said about Depressions and its connection with your Brain.

It might take a few minutes only, and you can clear your doubts regarding what happens with your mind if you are under depressions. So give yourself a few minutes to read this article carefully and address your doubts about Depression and Brain. It can help better in Understanding yourself and your Brain

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The Essential Need To Cry

Periods;of sadness mean the accumulation of a large amount of tension in your body.

Tears have a biological function of hydrating the eyes on their own. However, you should differentiate them from;emotional or crying tears, which are also essential for your health.;

The brain accumulates too much tension and needs to release this anxiety. Thus, tears are the best way to relieve this. Afterwards, endorphins are released that will make you feel better and more relaxed.;We therefore recommend that you;dont suppress crying when you need to.

Your Brain Needs More Energy: Glucose

What Depression and Anxiety Look Like in the Brain

When youre suffering from depression, your brain is incredibly active. It may seem strange, but scientific studies say that a depressed brain activates many parts of the brain.;


Its easy to understand. When youre depressed, you remember, think, suffer and reason in search of solutions and new alternatives. Its also harder to sleep because youre thinking about so many different things. Your;hippocampus is therefore active, which is the front part of the brain . In addition, the anterior cingulate cortex and the temporal lobes are more active.

You also have to keep in mind that your brain;uses almost 20% of your energy.

However,;when youre depressed, it needs even more, with glucose being the main need.;This causes you to feel more hungry and to seek sweet things, for example. Sometimes, this is the reason why many gain weight when theyre sad or depressed.

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Biology Of Depression Neurotransmitters

Biology of Depression

You may have heard that depression is the result of a simple imbalance of brain chemicals. Although brain chemicals are certainly part of the cause, this explanation is too simplistic. Even just considering the biological dimension of depression, the brain has multiple layers of complexity.



The brain uses a number of chemicals as messengers to communicate with other parts of itself and with the nervous system. These chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, are released and received by the brain’s many nerve cells, which are also called neurons. Neurons are constantly communicating with each other by way of exchanging neurotransmitters. This communication system is essential to all of the brain’s functions.

Depression has been linked to problems or imbalances in the brain with regard to the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. The evidence is somewhat indirect on these points because it is very difficult to actually measure the level of neurotransmitter in a person’s brain. What we do know is that antidepressant medications are known to act upon these particular neurotransmitters and their receptors. We’ll talk more about antidepressant medications in the treatment section of this article.

Recently, another neurotransmitter, glutamate, has been implicated in depression as well, but more research is necessary at this time to determine the nature of this relationship.

How Depression Changes Your Brain

It seems that more people in the world live with depression than ever before. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, an estimated 350 million people of all ages worldwide suffer from this mentally debilitating disease.

Depression can literally change your brain, altering the neural pathways and synapses and shrinking the size of your hippocampus, an area of the brain that regulates emotions and memory. Mentally, you probably feel foggy and exhausted, as your brain must work harder to process information and feelings. If you dont feel well mentally, it can take a toll on every other area of your life.

Depression can make you feel disconnected from the world around you, helpless to make any sort of change, and paralyzed by the thoughts inside your head. To combat all of these feelings, many people unfortunately turn to prescription drugs as a temporary answer, but we still dont know the long-term effects of these powerful drugs. Instead of medicating ourselves, we can turn to more natural remedies that often work better than even pills can.

Today, well go over how exactly depression alters your brain, and ways to reverse the damage naturally. It takes willpower and determination, but you CAN take your life back with a few simple lifestyle changes and ways of thinking.

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Combatting The Chemical Imbalance Stigma

Acknowledging the limitations of our current knowledge of depression and its treatment is important. In recent years, some researchers have expressed concerns that pharmaceutical companies marketing antidepressant medications may have misled consumers by oversimplifying or misrepresenting the research into the brain chemistry of depression.

Sociological research has found that the stigma attached to depression is not necessarily lessened by the theory of chemical imbalance.

Several studies have found that when told depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, people tend to feel less confident in their ability to manage the condition. Other studies have found that when depression is framed as a disease of the brain, people are more likely to feel the need to avoid a person with depression .

Not all the research has been negative, though. Several studies included in a 2012 meta-analysis indicated that one of the most effective ways to address and challenge social stigma around mental illness is to educate and discuss conditions and treatmentwhich includes being upfront and honest about what is still unknown or not well understood.

Your Bodys Immune Response To Illness Or Injury Is Called Inflammation

Brain Changes in Depression

Now think about the last time you were sick with a cold or flu. Besides the flu symptoms, like a runny nose or cough, you probably experienced some of these

  • Feeling down/flat mood
  • No interest in usual interests or hobbies
  • Brain fog
  • Withdrawing from friends or social activities

Looks a bit like depression, doesnt it?

There is actually a scientific theory that inflammation may play a role in depressive symptoms.

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