Depression has become a common term used for people who are either feeling sad or low. But it is important to understand that depression is more than just feeling sad or low. Depression or major depressive disorder or clinical depression is a type of mental health disorder that negatively affects the way an individual think, feels, and behaves. The condition is characterized by symptoms such as anxiety, general discontent, guilt, inability to sleep properly, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, mood swings, and lack of concentration, to name a few.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the condition affects approximately five percent of adults every year. The researchers have not yet been able to identify the exact cause of the condition. However, some of the common factors identified by them include genetics, stress, painful events, loneliness, childhood trauma, improper diet or sleep, excessive exercise, etc.
Effects of Depression On Human Brain
Depression can lead to some serious, long-term changes in different parts of the human brain, especially hippocampus. It has also been found that several parts of the brain also shrink due to depression and lose gray matter volume (GMV). GMV loss is higher among people with ongoing depression and serious symptoms. The parts of the brain that suffer from GMV loss are:
- Hippocampus: Essential for learning and memory, this part of the brain connects with other parts of the brain that control emotion and is responsive to stress hormones. This, in turn, makes it vulnerable to depression.
- Prefrontal Cortex: This area plays a role in an individual’s higher-level thinking and planning.
Along with these, following parts of the brain get smaller in size:
- Thalamus: This part transmits information from the brain’s outer layer or the cerebral cortex to the brain stem.
- Amygdala: It regulates an individual’s emotions and memory.
- Prefrontal cortices: It controls cognitive functions and is responsible to manage attention, impulse control, and emotional reactions.
- Brain Shrinkage: The severity of depression affects the amount of shrinkage of these parts and in turn, the way they function. This affects the way an individual performs different functions. For instance, amygdala and prefrontal cortices together manage an individual’s emotional responses. However, when depression occurs together with anxiety or better termed as anxious depression, it may lead to an increase in the size of amygdala. This shows that anxious depression affects an individual’s brain differently.
- Brain Inflammation: This is more common in people with persistent depression as it is believed that brain inflammation depends on the amount of time the person has been depressed. According to a study, the volume of translocator protein total distribution volume was found to be higher among people who were affected with depression for more than 10 years as compared to those who were untreated for lesser time. Translocator protein total distribution volume is an indicator of brain inflammation.
Brain inflammation can kill brain cells and lead to complications such as shrinkage and reduced neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to change as a person ages. It can also lead to reduced functioning of neurotransmitters, the body’s chemical messengers.
Seeking Help Is Important
Depression can be treated by taking medications as prescribed by a doctor or undergoing psychotherapy under an expert’s guidance. But one must never try to treat the condition on their own as it might worsen their condition. However, taking steps like practicing yoga and meditation, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and drinking lots of water can help improve the symptoms of depression.
It is essential that the right form of help is availed before the condition gets worse. This is because delaying the same might damage your mental as well as physical health. If you or someone you know is dealing with depression and is looking for a Mental Health Treatment Center in Gurgaon, Athena Behavioral Health can help.
Athena Behavioral Health is one of the leading providers of mental health recovery and addiction treatment plans in Delhi/NCR. Located in the hub of nature with the best amenities, our facility is one of the best Mental Health Treatment Facilities in Gurgaon. Based on your condition, the treatment plan offered by our experts can be a mix of medications, therapies, and other required provisions. If you know someone who is looking for such facility or is dealing with depression or any other mental illness, call us today at 919289086193 You can also drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org