What is depression?
Depression is a serious illness that can totally disrupt a person’s life. Why does it happen? How can it be treated?
Mental illness is a wide range of disorders that can take many different forms. Depression is one of them, and should not be taken lightly, as it can completely destabilize a person’s life.
In order to be diagnosed, manual of mental disorders, symptoms must remain for at least a while, and meet certain requirements. But why does this disease occur? There is one theory that has all or almost all, of the answers.
A chemical origin
Your brain is made up of almost infinite networks of connected cells. And yes, we say almost infinite because the average number in an adult reaches 100,000,000,000. All these neurons can perform very different tasks, so they need to communicate with each other efficiently.
How could we connect to such an enormous number of cells? The key is in neurotransmitters, substances that are generated by the neurons themselves and projected into the synaptic space – that tiny gap that remains between neuron and neuron – so that they can be collected again by other nerve cells as if it were a message.
Knowing this, we can tell you that one of the most important theories about depression is mainly responsible for one of these substances.
It is very likely that you already knew this neurotransmitter, as it is one of the most important and plays a key role among the so-called happiness hormones.
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As you know, one of the tasks of serotonin is to keep our mood constant. According to the BBC, the neurons in charge of generating this substance, the so-called serotonergic neurons, are among the most important, also influencing a multitude of metabolic processes. Therefore, low levels of serotonin in the brain can be synonymous with depression.
What are the consequences?
We already know that a decrease in the amount of serotonin can lead to depression, but how does this disorder manifest itself? Although it will depend on each person and in many cases on the information present in their genes, we can highlight some common aspects.
There are different types of depression, but it is very likely that the most important is major depression, which is precisely what we are focusing on. The main symptoms include sadness, frustration, and even anger, which damage daily life and last for a period of time.
Other manifestations are restlessness, irritability, lack of energy, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, loss of appetite, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, and even thoughts of suicide and death. All of them will interfere with the proper functioning of the sick person’s life.
All these problems can cause people to engage in evasive behaviours that help them escape suffering. We are facing a major problem since the consumption of alcohol and drugs can be one of these behaviors. However, not everyone has to choose that way out.
How you can treat depression?
There are different ways of treating depression, although we could categorize them all into two large groups, those who use medication and those who avoid medication by all means.
Psychological therapies try to carry out long-term treatment, which does not depend on medication and which provides the patient with the necessary tools to be able to deal with depression, and not to fall again in the future.
However, this is not always possible, and taking into account the chemical origin that seems to have in many cases, there are occasions when it is necessary to resort to medication.