How long-term Depression alters the Brain

Depression is a frame of mental disorder that affects the way you imagine, behave and feel. It causes feelings of hopelessness and sadness and can lead to long-term depression. Some people may have mild depression only once in their lives, while others may experience several severe episodes over their life. This more dangerous, long-lasting and strong form of depression is known as the major depressive disorder. It may also be referred to as major depression or clinical depression.

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The symptoms of such depression considerably interfere with daily functions, such as school work, and social activities. They also impact behavior and mood as well as a range of physical functions, such as appetite and sleep. To be diagnosed with long-term depression, you must display five or more of the below symptoms once a day over the course of two weeks. constant feelings of hopelessness and sadness, decrease or increase in appetite accompanied by extreme weight gain or weight loss, lack of interest in doing most activities, including those you once enjoyed, sleeping too little or too much, difficulty making decisions, thinking, and concentrating, fatigue, restlessness, excessive or inappropriate feelings of guilt or worthlessness, multiple thoughts of death or suicide, a suicide attempt

There are three main parts of the brain that play a major role in depressive disorder the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and amygdala. The hippocampus is positioned near the center of the brain. It stores memories and controls the production of a hormone called cortisol. The body discharges cortisol during times of mental stress and physical, and during times of depression. Problems occur when huge amounts of cortisol are sent to the brain due to a chemical imbalance in the body or a stressful event which can lead to memory problems.

The prefrontal cortex is placed in the front of the brain. It is accountable for making decisions, regulating emotions, and forming memories. When the body produces a surplus quantity of cortisol, the prefrontal cortex also minimizes. The amygdala in the brain facilitates emotional responses, such as fear and pleasure. In people with long-term depression, the amygdala becomes more active and enlarged as a result of constant contact with high levels of cortisol. A hyperactive and enlarged amygdala, along with the abnormal action in other parts of the brain, can result in disorders in sleep and other activities. It can also cause negative effects on the brain leading to further complications.

 

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