WHAT CAUSES DEPRESSION?
Harvard Medical School recently published an article on the causes of depression; the onset of depression is more complex than a brain chemical imbalance.
The research suggests three areas of the brain that are effected in a patient diagnosed with depression.
The Amygdala is activated when a person recalls emotionally charged memories, such as a frightening situation. Activity is higher when a person is sad or clinically depressed.
The Thalamus receives most sensory information and relays it to the appropriate part of the cerebral cortex, which directs high-level functions, such as speech, behavioral reactions, movements, thinking, and learning.
The Hippocampus has a central role in processing long-term memory and recollection. It is the part of the brain that registers fear.
Working together, these regions of the brain have a direct effect on a person’s mood. Mood is affected by dozens of genes; such as the following:
- A person’s temperament effects behavior
- Stressful life events
- Stresses on the body
- Early losses and trauma
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Medical problems
Research suggests that depression doesn’t start from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression; including faulty mood regulations by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems. It’s believed that several of these forces interact to bring on depression.
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Published: June 2009, updated April 11, 2017