Scientists Say Depression Causes Permanent Brain Damage!

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As a result of decades of debates, it was proved that brain damage doesn’t cause depression. It’s the other way around: Depression leads to brain damage. Until today, numerous neurologists have claimed that an alteration in the brain may lead up to chronic depression. A new article published in “Molecular Psychiatry” magazine, however,  turns a new page for what we know about this illness.

Here are the scientific data behind the theory and some advise on how to deal with depression...

1. In this study, MRIs of 9,000 participants were examined.

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When obtained MRI images were analyzed, degrowth was observed in the hippocampus section of 1,728 participants’ brains who are suffering from chronic depression, comparing to 7,199 others who were healthy. It was proved that the regional volume of the hippocampus (especially the ones with major depressive disorder) is becoming significantly (1.24%) smaller.

2. So what is the hippocampus?

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The small part of the brain located in the medial temporal lobe is called the hippocampus. Like many parts of the brain, it consists of two symmetric parts and it has been believed that its primary function is to form new memories, to organize long-term memory and to manage the sense of direction. There’s another part called amygdala located in the hippocampus, and this part has been associated with depression for a long while.

3. According to new findings, organizing the memory is not the only duty of the hippocampus.

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New findings show that the hippocampus has a significant role in controlling emotions too. Professor Ian Hickie, one of the scientists who carried out the study, sums up the subject with these words:

“Your whole sense of self depends on continuously understanding who you are in the world – your state of memory is not about just knowing how to do Sudoku or remembering your password – it’s the whole concept we hold of ourselves.”

4. Professor Hickie gives the experiments on animals as an example when explaining the degrowth of the hippocampus.

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“We’ve seen in a lot of other animal experiments that when you shrink the hippocampus, you don’t just change memory, you change all sorts of other behaviours associated with that - so shrinkage is associated with a loss of function.”

5. When depressed, people feel an intense lack of self-confidence and a low self-worth in daily life.

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Even ordinary, daily events have direct effects on memory. They influence the memory formation, re-experiencing the past and imagining the future, and how people feel about themselves in general.  Depression points to a pretty desperate mindset, such as perceiving negative thoughts as reality.

6. The reason behind this psychological state is generally a retrospective regret or a prudential fear.

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Being stuck in these emotions is not one’s own choice (at least not on a conscious level). What makes someone depressed is repeating these retrospective or prudential regrets and fears regularly. It’s not easy to overcome these thoughts. Besides, they can get stronger everyday and become our reality in the end.

7. There’s only one question left: How can we get out of this vicious circle?

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One way of managing it is making some radical changes in your life.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should sell your house and car today and go on a world trip. Instead, redecorating or moving your house, changing your style, or living with a friend can be helpful to feel a lot better in a short while.

8. Focus on the present, neither the past nor the future...

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By learning how to live the moment, you can get out of this vicious circle, as what cause depression are retrospective regrets and prudential fears.  Try meditation, and look at your pessimistic thoughts from a distance, as if they are not yours...

9. Spend more time with optimistic people.

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Like it or not, we’re all social beings and we need others’ company. So when you feel depressed, be around positive people and try not to scare them away. Good company can make you feel a lot better, at least for a while.

10. Two more things to pay attention to:

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Do not try to censor your negative thoughts! Ignoring them just won’t help. You’ll strengthen them as long as you fight them.  Let those thoughts talk to you, let them tell what they want to tell. You’ll realize in the end that they’re just ridiculous and repeating themselves over and over.

Secondly, never let the feeling of loneliness imprison you. You’re not the first person dealing with depression and won’t be the last. Even realizing that what you’re dealing with is not unprecedented may help you recover, or at least it may help you to take the first step to get help.

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