Source The photograph that has become known as "Migrant Mother" is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made in February or March of in Nipomo, California. InLange gave this account of the experience: I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet.
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 have 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. In fact, animal studies have shown that antidepressants do spur the growth and enhanced branching of nerve cells in the hippocampus. So, the theory holds, the real value of these medications may be in generating new neurons a process called neurogenesisstrengthening nerve cell connections, and improving the exchange of information between nerve circuits.
If that's the case, medications could be developed that specifically promote neurogenesis, with the hope that patients would see quicker results than with current treatments. Areas of the brain affected by depression Amygdala: The amygdala is part of the limbic system, a group of structures deep in the brain that's associated with emotions such as anger, pleasure, sorrow, fear, and sexual arousal.
The amygdala is activated when a person recalls emotionally charged memories, such as a frightening situation. Activity in the amygdala is higher when a person is sad or clinically depressed. This increased activity continues even after recovery from depression. The thalamus receives most sensory information and relays it to the appropriate part of the cerebral cortex, which directs high-level functions such as speech, behavioral reactions, movement, thinking, and learning.How your immune system causes depression.
Chapter 1 Introduction. In I wrote a speculative biomedical paper suggesting that the immune system is the key to understanding a broad range of mental illnesses, including depression, schizophrenia, hyperactivity, anxiety and manic-depressive disorder.
1 The basic idea was this: the . The causes of stress in modern life emerge from the many obligations we have to handle everyday to the modern way of negative thinking. We have all experienced stress periods in our life.
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Scream, a radically new way of thinking about depression and anxiety What really causes depression and anxiety - and how can we really solve them? Award-winning journalist Johann Hari suffered from depression.
Psychotherapy. There is a wide number of effective therapeutic approaches utilized for the treatment of depression today. These range from cognitive behavioral therapy, to behavioral therapy (e.g.
The causes of the Great Depression in the early 20th century have been extensively discussed by economists and remain a matter of active debate. They are part of the larger debate about economic yunusemremert.com specific economic events that took place during the Great Depression are well established.
There was an initial stock market crash that .
Poems About Depression and Suicide offers heartfelt poetry on a wide range of topics ranging from melancholy to suicide.