How Depression Physically Affects Your Brain

If you are feeling down for no reason, it does not mean that you have depression. But yes, having such down feelings frequently is a sign of depression that may physically change your brain. The best neuro physician says that it does not only affect your physical health but changes the way you think, feel and act.

There is no such direct research on what affects these changes. But many consider genetics, inflammation, and stress as the causes of these changes.

People often ignore the symptoms that may get worse over time. Having the same symptoms can also damage your brain. Let’s get into details about what depression does with your brain.

Brain size 

This is still a conflicted statement that which areas of your brain get more affected by depression and which are not. People with depression went through an analysis that showed some brain changes. Yes, some areas of the brain get shrunk due to depression.

Depression makes your brain areas lose grey matter volume. It is known as a tissue with lots of brain cells.

If you experience depression with severe symptoms for the long term, it means that there will be a high GMV loss.

GMV happens in different areas, including:

Prefrontal cortex: This area of your brain is responsible for high thinking and planning but it can get affected by depression. The parts of it get smaller, such as the insula, thalamus, and caudate nucleus.

A fear centre means it affects the amygdala which is not clear how it gets affected. Researchers say that it gets smaller over time. Stress and depression may also result in a high level of GMV. If you experience a high level of symptoms, there will be a high risk of GMV.

When depression hits these areas of your brain, it affects your different abilities, including trouble thinking, guilt and hopelessness, not motivation, anxiety, memory issues, etc.

Hippocampus: It is the part of your brain that helps in learning and memory. It is responsive to stress hormones that make it more prone to depression.

Inflammation in the brain 

It is still unknown what comes first, depression or inflammation. Doctors are still working on this but it is confirmed that people with depressive episodes have a peak of translocator proteins. Such proteins are responsible for the inflammation in the brain areas. 

People with untreated major depressive disorder have higher proteins. If inflammation is not under control, it may result in the killing of brain cells, speed up brain ageing, prevent new brain cells from growing, etc.

Brain Changes are Permanent or Temporary:

Depression can be treated but many people want to know whether these brain changes are permanent or temporary. If the depression is persistent, the brain changes will be long-term. The changes in the hippocampus also lead to long-term changes.

There is more research needed to confirm the effects. Doctors often suggest different treatments, including antidepressants and therapy.

Your depression is the root cause that needs to be treated at the right time. Antidepressant helps to fight off the negative thoughts that take control of emotions and stress.

The intake of antidepressants also helps to reduce the inflammation of the brain and let your brain form new connections.

Therapy may also work for you to reduce depression. It promotes neuroplasticity that leads to changes in the brain that deal with your health.

Structural differences 

One of the major results of mental health on your brain is the structural difference. It happens because your central nervous system utilizes neurotransmitters to transmit the messages between the neurons and other cells. Three types of neurotransmitters are here:

Your breathing to mood is controlled by molecules.

The types of neurotransmitters excitatory and inhibitory are responsible for the brain volume reduction that lead to depression.

Reduce oxygen 

Mental Health does affect the amount of oxygen in your body. It leads to changes in your breathing that are caused by depression. It is still conflicted about what comes first.

Reverse the Effects of Brain Changes

Experts say that brain changes can get reversed by the treatments which are discussed already. You should avoid the risk of depression by consulting the doctor at the right time. If you do not get help, it may get worse over time. 

You should not isolate yourself and avoid overthinking as these can lead to a suicide attempt.

Get medical help when you experience early depression signs.