logo

How Does Depression Affect The BrainĀ 

Table of Contents

It’s hard to imagine that a tiny organ inside your head could cause such severe and long-lasting symptoms as depression. The brain is an essential aspect of the human body and does so many more things than anyone could ever know.

People know that when people have clinical depression, their brains function differently in areas like emotion regulation, cognition and the experience of pleasure. These areas of the brain can be affected by depression and are known to be responsible for these symptoms. Here is how depression affects the brain.

The Depression and the Emotion Regulation

The brain parts responsible for emotion regulation are the prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, and the amygdala. These parts of the brain allow you to be aware of your emotions and know how to control them. When patients are depressed, these areas don’t function normally or can even malfunction entirely and become insensitive to their own emotions or the emotions of others.

Depression

There is a link between these brain areas and sorrow because when they aren’t functioning strong enough or they aren’t feeling emotion strongly enough, they create a depression that affects the brain in the person with it.

Cognition

Cognition is an aspect of your brain that allows you to be aware and think clearly. When patients are depressed, this part of their brain can become less active and malfunction. The part of the brain that deals with cognition are the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, where sorrow can be in patients. When these parts of your brain are damaged or malfunctioning, you cannot think clearly and act rationally. It is prevalent in those with severe mental health and depression.

Mechanisms of Reward

The olfactory bulb and ventral tegmental area are areas in the brain that are very closely involved with mood and reward. When people have depression, these parts of their brains can become overactive or underactive. Giving them a different way of experiencing pleasure.

The parts of your brain responsible for reward and mood can be affected by sorrow and medication abuse. It is possible that these areas initially became overactive to help people experience new things more intently because they helped them to feel better in the first place. However, when they become overactive or less effective, people will feel depressed instead.

Memory

Memory is an essential part of the brain, and since it is responsible for learning new things and remembering old ones, it is also a big part of how depression affects on the brain. When people are depressed, their memory can be affected in various ways. It can become more selective as people begin to forget important aspects of their lives and things that would be too difficult for them to think about right after they have become depressed.

Memory is usually connected with areas in the brain that relate to emotions, such as the hippocampus or the amygdala, which all relate to why people may experience memory loss when they have depression.

Pain Perception

Because of pain perception, it’s possible for you to feel less pain in your body when you are depressed. Pain perception is commonly associated with the brain stem but can also be related to other parts. Certain areas in your body have an increased threshold for pain when you are depressed.

This is also part of why people who are severely depressed may have suicidal tendencies because they don’t view themselves as worth anything or anyone else would want to be around them again once they kill themselves.

Pleasure Perception

When you are depressed, it’s possible for the parts of your brain that are responsible for the feeling of pleasure to decrease in activity or become damaged. These two areas are usually associated with reward and motivation. When people have depression, they are less motivated to do things and don’t feel as good about things anymore. It is, therefore, possible that these decreased feelings about pleasure also play a role in why people who have sorrow start feeling suicidal.

Sleep-Wake Regulation

Scientists know that sleep is essential for good health, yet people with sorrow still experience fatigue and trouble sleeping regularly. Some brain parts related to sleep and wake regulation include the frontal and parietal areas. When people have depression, these parts of the brain become less active or malfunction to the extent that they can no longer regulate a person’s sleep cycle. It could be a possible explanation for why people who are depressed experience sleep paralysis and night terrors, which occur when people wake up in the middle of the night with a panic attack or other unusual sensations in their bodies.

Many different aspects of your body have your brain as part of them, but it’s also important to realize that many different aspects of your brain affect how you feel about yourself and how you function all around life. The only way to recover from sorrow is to realize that you have a problem and take steps to solve it and treat your sorrow with medication. If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of depression, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.