For years, people have theorised about depression, whether it is just a state of mind, or whether there is a reason for it. A quick glance at the images of the brain show an alarming difference, so what does depression do to the brain, and is it all just imaginary?
We all have our off days, those days when we just want to curl up and shut the world out - rather like a hangover, but without the fun of the night before. MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) is identified when someone finds that five of the following symptoms persist for more than a two week period :
- Persistently feeling empty
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Losing interest in life
- Lacking energy
- Struggling to concentrate and make decisions
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Losing / gaining weight
- Suicidal thoughts or attempting to suicide
- Feeling restless and irritable
- Persistent physical symptoms which do not relate to treatment and cannot be identified
The cause of MDD was found to lie in the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain which creates new memories, emotional responses and spatial navigation. In research, those with MDD were shown to have a hippocampus of up to 1.24% smaller than the norm.
It is not just the memory which is affected, but also loss of function - leading to why those with MDD have a harder time dealing with daily activities.
All is not lost, this can be treated, however, if you regularly spot any of the above symptoms regularly finding their way into your life (or those of someone close to you), it is worth talking to a specialist who may be able to help you move forward before the challenge appears too great.
...it has been established that MDD affects the brain by causing physiological damage to it...