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Effects of Depression on the Brain, Recognize the Dangers

Depression is experienced by many people and can interfere with the psyche if not handled properly. In fact, the effects of depression are not always related to the psychological or psychological. In fact, depression also has a negative effect on the brain. Depression is said to affect the physical structure of the brain.

Depression is said to affect the physical structure of the brain. In this case, changes occur in the brain from inflammation, oxygen restriction, to shrinkage. In short, depression can affect the central nervous system control center.

How does depression affect the brain?

Depression increases cortisol production in the brain. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is toxic to cells in the hippocampus. Long-term exposure to cortisol is suspected to cause shrinkage in the size of the hippocampus, which eventually causes memory problems, namely difficulty remembering.

But when the hippocampus shrinks, it's not just a matter of remembering. You also change all kinds of other behaviors related to your memory. Therefore, shrinking the hippocampus is also associated with loss of normal daily function.




This is because the hippocampus is also connected to many brain regions that regulate how we feel and respond to stress. The hippocampus is connected to the amygdala which controls our experience of fear. In people with chronic depression, the amygdala actually enlarges and is more active as a result of exposure to excess cortisol in the long term.

Enlarged and hyperactive amygdala, combined with other abnormal activities in the brain, can cause sleep disturbances and activity patterns. This also causes the body to release a number of hormones and other chemicals, and cause other depression complications.

Limited oxygen in the brain

Depression has also been linked to reduced oxygen in the body. This change may be due to changes in breathing caused by depression, but which one is the cause is unknown.

Overall, the brain is very sensitive to reduced oxygen, which can cause inflammation, brain cell injury, and brain cell death.

Inflammation and brain cell death can lead to a number of symptoms associated with development, learning, memory, and mood. In fact, short-term hypoxia (not enough oxygen) can cause confusion.

This condition can be overcome by treating hyperbaric oxygen chambers, which aim to increase oxygen circulation. This therapy has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression in humans.

The brain can shrink

Recent research shows that the size of certain brain regions can decrease in people who are depressed. Researchers continue to debate which parts of the brain can shrink due to depression and how much the impact. However, according to research published in the 2012 British Medical Bulletin, affected areas of the brain include the hippocampus, thalamus, amygdala, frontal lobe, and prefrontal cortex.

The amount of brain area that shrinks, is related to the severity and how long the depression lasts. In the hippocampus for example, shrinkage can occur if a person experiences depression for 8 months to a year during a single episode of depression, or a few shorter episodes.

When the brain part shrinks, so does the function of the affected part. For example, the prefrontal cortex and amygdala work together to control emotional responses and the introduction of emotional cues in others. If shrinkage occurs, it can contribute to a decrease in empathy in people with postpartum depression.

Inflammation of the brain

There is also a new relationship that is believed to occur between inflammation and depression. It's just still unclear whether inflammation causes depression or otherwise.

Inflammation of the brain that occurs when someone is depressed is related to how long a person is depressed. In the new study in the journal "The Lancet Psychiatry", people who were depressed for more than 10 years showed 30 percent more inflammation than people who had shorter periods of depression.

As a result, significant inflammation of the brain is more likely to be relevant in long-lasting depressive disorders. Because inflammation of the brain can cause brain cells to die, this can cause a number of complications including shrinkage, decreased function of neurotransmitters, and reduced brain ability to change with age (neuroplasticity). Concomitant with these complications, this condition will also affect brain development, learning, memory, and mood.

Structural and connective tissue changes

The effects of depression on the brain can also produce changes in structure and connective tissue, including:

  • Reduces the function of the hippocampus which causes memory disorders.
  • Reducing the function of the prefrontal cortex. This can result in someone being prevented from doing something (executive function) and influencing their attention.
  • Reducing the function of the amygdala. This can directly affect mood and emotional regulation.

Changes usually take a minimum of 8 months to develop. However, for depression that lasts for a long time, it is certain that this will cause continuous disruption in memory, executive functions (self-regulation), attention, mood, and emotional regulation.

That's the variety of effects of changes that can occur in your brain if you experience depression. Depression can also increase the risk for sufferers to hurt themselves or even commit suicide. Therefore, depression cannot be considered playful. If you feel depressed, try talking to people you trust and don't be shy about asking for help. If necessary, you can consult with a doctor or psychologist to get the best solution.





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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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