We all know depression as a mental ailment that negatively affects our physical health as it aggravates. However, depression also leaves physical impacts on your brain. This definitely makes the depression situation more horrible than ever before.
Let’s learn how depression physically affects the brain in addition to launching a flood of negative thoughts in your mind:
1. Brain inflammation
Research has tied brain inflammation and depression together. However, it is still not sure what causes what. In other words, it is not clear if depression causes inflammation or vice versa.
What’s known, however, is that the amount of inflammation in the brain resonates with the time that a person has been depressed. For instance, a study shows that a person who has been depressed for more than ten years exhibits 30% more inflammation than folks who have been depressed for a lesser time.
This brain inflammation culminates in the death of brain cells. Consequently, a number of complication may come to the surface. These include a decline in the function of neurotransmitters, reduction in the brain’s ability to change as a person ages, and brain shrinkage.
Evidence indicates that depression can lead to brain shrinkage. What’s open to question, however, is which regions of the brain are vulnerable to shrinkage. Current studies suggest that the hippocampus, prefrontal cortices, thalamus, frontal, and amygdala are prone to shrinking due to depression.
The amount of the brain shrinkage is dependent on the length and severity of a patient’s depression. A case in point is the noticeable shrinkage of the hippocampus that occurs between eight months to one year of an episode of depression or numerous short episodes of depression.
3. Oxygen shortage
Depression corresponds with reduced oxygen in the body. Subsequently, the brain also experiences a decline in the amount of oxygen that it gets. This is something noticed in patients of bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder.
On the whole, our brain is very sensitive to the oxygen restriction. In fact, the condition can lead to brain cell injury, inflammation, and brain cell death. Furthermore, inflammation and cell death can lead to more problems concerning learning, mood, development, and memory. Therefore, this is another physical effect of depression on the brain.
4. Structural changes
Depression can also lead to connective and structural changes. These entail lessened functioning of the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and amygdala. A decline in the functioning of the hippocampus can lead to memory impairment.
Similarly, reduced functioning of the prefrontal cortex can affect a person’s attention and prevents a person from getting things done. Lastly, reduced functioning of the amygdala can impact your emotional regulation and mood.
Moving forward – what should you do?
If you feel that you’re depressed, then you need to talk. Talk to someone who loves you and reach out for professional help. By keeping matters under wraps, you will only aggravate your mental health. Don’t forget to reduce your stress. There’s considerable evidence that stress can culminate in depression so it is best to curb it before it grows into a serious problem.