Depression Changes Your Brain

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Depression is a mental health disorder that affects millions of Americans every day. Depression is characterized by sadness, low motivation, and changes to eating and sleeping. Severe depression increases the risks of suicidal thoughts and actions, substance use, and low functioning. Depression actually changes the way your brain works and is wired.

Studies have shown the depression alters the structure of the brain. These changes can impact memory, processing, mood, cognition, and motivation. There is good news however. Treating depression helps decrease the risk of severe brain changes.

Researchers have taken time to study areas of the brain that are affected by untreated depression. The brains of people diagnosed with depression were impacted in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and the anterior cingulate.

A symptom of depression is rumination. Rumination is when you think about the mistakes and negativity in your life over and over again. Rumination makes it impossible to enjoy life or even leave your home. Rumination alone is thought to cause stress to the amygdala, where the fear response is stored.

People who are in treatment for depression have reported a drastic decrease in rumination. Rumination and impairments to cognition, memory, and motivation can change the structure of your brain and make depressive symptoms worse.

The best intervention is to get treatment. Treatment will decrease symptoms and halt the damage being done to certain parts of the brain. There is still debate about whether these changes are completely reversible, but there are many benefits to depression treatment.

The goal is to find an approach that works for you. Therapy is incredibly important to process traumas, learn new coping skills, and regain control of your life. Your therapist can recommend support groups, nutritionists, and other specialists to add to your treatment efforts.

Your therapist may recommend seeing a psychiatrist to discuss medications. Anti-depressants work by replacing missing chemicals, repairing deficits in your brain caused by depression. Antidepressants will decrease symptoms caused by depression and provide relief.  Many patients report that motivation, hope, and enjoyment of life return.

Some people may need to take anti-depressants for life, but this is not always the case. Speak with a physician before abruptly ending any medications you may be on. Treatment is the only real way to protect your brain and be able to enjoy your life.

The goal of treatment is to help you live life again. With patience and the right treatment team, you can get your life back. Having depression does not mean you can’t live. Call The Kimberly Center now at 855-4-KCENTER, we can teach you about recovery.

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