Over decades, studies reveal that depression and neurological problems are often interrelated. Advancement in brain imaging technology has led to better understanding of depression and brain locations that may be affected by depression. Research suggests that miniature brain parts like the amygdala, the thalamus, and the hippocampus play a significant role in depression.
In one functional MRI study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, investigators studied 24 women who had a history of depression. Experts believe that stress, which plays a role in depression, may be a key factor in suppressing the production of new neurons (nerve cells) in the hippocampus.
Depression a Major Concern
As stated by World Health Organization by depression is a common illness worldwide, with an estimated 350 million people affected. Thus making it one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. It affects the individual in every facet of life-work, family, social, emotional and physical. Many of these patients get suicidal too.
Over 800 000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-old aged people.
Due to its debilitating nature individuals who suffer from depression may find recovery to be challenging without professional assistance. In many countries, fewer than 10% of those affected by depression receive effective treatment. Few of the major barriers to seeking professional help are:
- Lack of resources
- Lack of trained health care providers
- Stigma Associated with Mental Illnesses
What can we do with this information?
With depression being one of the major contributors to the global burden of disease, it becomes the primary responsibility of every individual to help break the stigma associated with mental illnesses. Depression can be cured with the help of medication as well as psychotherapy both.
Remember the first step to prevent the brain size from shrinking, is talking to a trained professional if you or any of your loved ones are affected by depression!