Most people sometimes feel anxious or depressed. This feeling can be caused by different situations, such as getting fired, losing a loved one, going through a divorce, you name it. Such difficult situations can make you feel scared, sad, lonely, nervous or anxious.
These feelings are a normal reaction to such stressful situations, and while you may feel depressed because of these situations, this is something that will eventually pass and you will be able to function normally.
However, there are people who feel like this all the time and for no particular reason. This feeling disables them from functioning normally. It is very difficult for these people to live a normal life because the feeling is just overwhelming.
When a person feels discouraged, hopeless, sad, unmotivated, or disinterested for more than two weeks and these feelings affect their daily activities, the person is likely to experience a major depressive episode.
According to experts from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the so-called Major Depressive Disorder in the United States is a growing threat and a leading cause of disability. It can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender, and manifests through the following symptoms:
– Losing interest in your favorite hobbies and activities;
– Feeling sad and empty all the time;
– Guilty and worthless;
– Emotionally and physically drained;
– Pessimistic and hopeless about everything;
– Having a hard time focusing and remembering;
– Feeling anxious and irritated;
– Suffering from insomnia;
– Experiencing sudden weight loss or weight gain;
– Having suicidal thoughts;
– Showing persistent physical symptoms such as headaches, mysterious pains or digestive problems.
If you’ve been experiencing these problems for more than 2 weeks, we suggest visiting a psychologist.
The Human Brain and MDD
A recent study by the ENIGMA Working Group showed that MDD causes physiological damage in the brain. The study evaluated nearly 10,000 people, or the majority was in good health, while the others (nearly 2,000) patients were suffering from MDD.
The team of scientists compared the brain scans of the MDD patients with the brain scans of the healthy participants and the difference was obvious.
The true cause of the so-called Major Depressive Disorder is the hippocampus. The MDD patients evaluated in the study had a significantly smaller hippocampus compared to the other participants.
This theory was speculated for a long time, but this was the first time science confirms it. The volume of shrinkage was 1.24%, which is quite significant.
The hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for new and long-term memories as well as emotional responses and spatial navigation. This important brain part lies in the medial temporal lobe. The fact that it’s far smaller in MDD patients explains why these people experience depression.
Professor Ian Hickie (co-author of the study) says that memory isn’t just remembering stuff – it’s essentially a concept we hold of ourselves. The professor explains that animal experiments have shown that the same hippocampus shrinkage doesn’t harm the memory only – it’s also related to a wide range of other behaviors such as loss of certain functions. This shows why depressive people have a harder time coping with normal daily activities.
The good news is…
The brain damage done by MDD is reversible. This means that with proper treatment, the brain function can be returned to normal.
This is important to note, and if you think that you are suffering from MDD, you should visit a healthcare professional and start the recovery process as soon as possible.
Sources: curiousmindmagazine.com, humanexplore.com