These include bereavement, divorce, work issues, relationships with friends and family, financial problems, medical concerns, or acute stress. Those with less successful coping strategies, or previous life trauma are more suceptible. Having a first-degree relatives with depression increases the risk. These include corticosteroids, some beta-blockersinterferon, and other prescription drugs.
Onset of depression more complex than a brain chemical imbalance Updated: April 11, Published: June, 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. Researchers Depression research articles learned much about the biology of depression.
They've identified genes that make individuals more vulnerable to low moods and influence how an individual responds to drug therapy. One day, these discoveries should lead to better, more individualized treatment see "From the lab to your medicine cabinet"but that is likely to be years away.
And while researchers know more now than ever before about how the brain regulates mood, their understanding of the biology of depression is far from complete.
What follows is an overview of the current understanding of the major factors believed to play a role in depression.
The brain's impact on depression Popular lore has it that emotions reside in the heart. Science, though, tracks the seat of your emotions to the brain. Certain areas of the brain help regulate mood. Researchers believe that — more important than levels of specific brain chemicals — nerve cell connections, nerve cell growth, and the functioning of nerve circuits have a major impact on depression.
Still, their understanding of the neurological underpinnings of mood is incomplete. Regions that affect mood Increasingly sophisticated forms of brain imaging — such as positron emission tomography PETsingle-photon emission computed tomography SPECTand functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI — permit a much closer look at the working brain than was possible in the past.
An fMRI scan, for example, can track changes that take place when a region of the brain responds during various tasks. Use of this technology has led to a better understanding of which brain regions regulate mood and how other functions, such as memory, may be affected by depression.
Areas that play a significant role in depression are the amygdala, the thalamus, and the hippocampus see Figure 1. Research shows that the hippocampus is smaller in some depressed people.
For example, in one fMRI study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, investigators studied 24 women who had a history of depression. The more bouts of depression a woman had, the smaller the hippocampus.
Stress, which plays a role in depression, may be a key factor here, since experts believe stress can suppress the production of new neurons nerve cells in the hippocampus. Researchers are exploring possible links between sluggish production of new neurons in the hippocampus and low moods.
An interesting fact about antidepressants supports this theory. These medications immediately boost the concentration of chemical messengers in the brain neurotransmitters. Yet people typically don't begin to feel better for several weeks or longer.
Experts have long wondered why, if depression were primarily the result of low levels of neurotransmitters, people don't feel better as soon as levels of neurotransmitters increase. The answer may be that mood only improves as nerves grow and form new connections, a process that takes weeks.Sociologists study how people get along together in groups.
They study culture, social institutions and they affect individuals. The sociology of depression encompasses the cultural context in which people live, as well as the social stressors that people encounter as a part of life. Based on mounting research, doctors are prescribing nutrient-rich foods as a recipe for better mental health.
With the help of high-profile chefs, they’re doing it deliciously, too. Jan 10, · Foods That Fight Winter Depression.
When long nights bring on a long face, this can mean seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Here are some tips to help fight off the winter blues. The Depression page contains articles and information from the New England Journal of Medicine. Population estimates underpin demographic and epidemiological research and are used to track progress on numerous international indicators of health and development.
Depression and anxiety are associated with substantially increased morbidity and mortality (Kessler et al., , Mathers and Loncar, ).Additionally, poor health outcomes related to these psychiatric disorders are increasing.