Relationship between a Psychological Disorder and
Neurological Structure and Process
Although science isn’t certain of the exact mechanism that causes the onset of clinical depression, however, that uncertainly did not quell the firestorm of speculations about what was the impetus of clinical depression in human. For centuries mankind has speculated about what triggered it and continued in to the Renaissance. Philosophers and scientist supposed that bodily fluids called humors were responsible for our moods and personality. The black bile they called it, was the one that caused depression. And by the 17th Century, dualism- the separation of mind and body was the doctrine shaping the argument at the time. Subsequently, it was asserted that depression was a disease of the mind and came about as a result of something being off-centered in an individual’s physical or social environment. As the 20th century emerged, the man credited with being the father of psychoanalysis believed that a dysfunction of the brain would explain mental illness. As neuroscience advanced over the years, assessments by neuroscientist came to know that many cases of psychopathology surfaced because of dysfunctions in particular brain structures or particular brain chemicals. Symptom of the depression:
Keep in mind that not every depressed individual will experience each one of the following symptoms. Someone might experience only a few symptoms while another person might have a lot of depression signs, and this can also change over time. •Sadness: this symptom may include a groundless sense of grief, sorrow and constant blues. Unlike the sadness or blues that we may experience from time to time in our lives, this deep sense of sadness is chronic and does not disappear for several weeks in a row. Often, if someone examines the reasons for such sadness, he finds none significant. •Guilt, low self-esteem: self-loathing is common when someone is experiencing this depression symptom. Someone may take the guilt for his actions, feel embarrassed and ashamed of him-self and be too sensitive when it goes about mistakes or faults. People can also become too judgmental of themselves, and consequently, to other people and the world around them. Low self-esteem leads to the feeling of being fairly punished for something. Someone does not feel the need to fight off depression, as he feels that it is a fair punishment. •Fatigue: when you are experiencing this symptom, you may feel exhausted as soon as you get out of your bed. In fact, you may start having problems getting up, and feel sleepy all the time. You may run out of energy, not even getting through half of your day. •Loss of energy: if you experience this symptom, you might feel tired all the time, with a need to sleep. You might also feel physically drained as if you had been doing a lot of physical efforts. Your legs, arms and your whole body may feel heavy. You might have difficulty to perform even small everyday tasks and feel exhausted, or it might just take you much longer to do these tasks. •No interest in life and no enjoyment: people with depression do not enjoy life anymore. It turns life into a dull or sorrowful experience. People tend to lose interest in their hobbies or in the social activities they used to enjoy. This may lead to marriage and sex life problems as well as a lack of satisfaction. Someone may start withdrawing from its daily life routine, and may start having a hard time going through the day and coping with daily choirs. Someone may also withdraw from his social life and relationships and become passive. •Difficulty to make decisions and to focus: the decision making process may become hard, first of all because when you are depressed, your emotions and thoughts tend to be negative. You do not perceive the world around you adequately. This may lead you to make wrong decisions. People with confused emotions or thoughts have a hard time focusing on events and circumstances around them. •Sleeping disorders: some people with depression experience insomnia. They wake up early in the morning with the feeling of emptiness; they may also have nightmares several times a week. Such people have a hard time falling asleep. Others experience constant sleepiness. They have a hard time waking up and getting out of bed. The day starts very slow for such people, and they may experience constant drowsiness. •Eating disorders: during depression, some people may become anorexic and stop eating. Such appetite loss leads to body weight loss, which can become critical when it reaches 5 percent of the body mass. Other people, on the contrary, start overeating. This may lead to obesity as they might start gaining weight fast. •Anger, aggressiveness, irritability: these emotional states are very characteristic of depressive disorders. Such lack of self- control may be caused both by depression directly and by its other signs, such as insomnia. These symptoms may be prevalent in men with depression. •Physical symptoms: headaches, chronic pains, stomach pains, numbness in arms and legs and many other physical problems can be caused by depression. These physical symptoms are not caused by any physical disorder or illness. This is why they cannot be treated with medications other than those used for the treatment of depression. To know whether these physical symptoms are caused by depression or by other medical conditions, a doctor may perform blood tests. •Crying: people with depression can easily start crying. They may have crying fits that start with no real reason and end up rapidly. •Socialization problems: people with depressive disorders may start to withdraw form their circle of friends and family. Or they may start having interpersonal problems caused by their medical condition. Friends and relatives may not realize the need for help and think that your mood swings or other problems are caused by character faults or personal weaknesses. •Sex life problems: someone with bipolar depression may experience a rapid increase in sexual desire. On the other hand, people with other types of depression or people with bipolar disorder in a first stage may start having difficulties enjoying their sexual life or even have a complete loss of sexual desire. •Problems in making it through the day: someone who is depressed may feel like there is no way he can make it through the day. Simple, seemingly easy and ordinary tasks such as getting dressed or fixing dinner become too complicated and impossible to accomplish. People in depression may start dreading larger tasks or dealing with more complicated assignments, which required some amount of decision making. •Self-destructive behaviors: drinking, drug abuse, fast driving and other forms of socially unacceptable and dangerous behavior may be caused by depression. Depressed people with low self-esteem may subconsciously or consciously head themselves towards destruction. •Inappropriate social behavior: people with bipolar depression tend to experience such a symptom. On the maniac stage of their depression cycle they may become too talkative, too active and sometimes too aggressive. This may lead to various forms of asocial behavior and may even lead to homicide in extreme cases. •Suicidal thoughts and acts: thoughts about death can bother people with depression. This is a characteristic symptom of people with major depression or bipolar disorder, but it can also be experienced by people with any kind of depressive disorder. Such thoughts may be life threatening, as they may lead to suicidal acts. Depression often runs in families. Relatives of people who have depression are at greater risk for the illness than those with no family history, but depression can strike people with no family history as well. Depression that results from a person's biology or genetic inheritance is sometimes referred to as endogenous depression. There is a growing body of research that supports a genetic basis for depression, though research has not linked depression to a single defective gene. Studies have instead revealed that variations in multiple genes in concert with environmental stresses can trigger depression. In one study sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, scientists found that a mutation in a gene responsible for producing serotonin, a mood-related neurotransmitter, was 10 times more prevalent in patients with depression than those without. They discovered the mutation was responsible for an 80 percent shortfall in the production of serotonin. A. J. Reeves, (1999) In another study, a variation of a gene called 5-HTT was linked to the onset of clinical depression in people who experienced a traumatic event. Researchers found that people who had the short form of 5-HTT were more prone than those with the long form to slip into clinical depression after experiencing these events. So while parents who have depression don’t pass it to their children in the way they pass hair or eye color, strictly by genetic code, they can pass on a genetic vulnerability to depression. Currently available antipsychotic medications usually fall short of the desired therapeutic efficacy and invariably produce unwanted side effects, such as dry mouth or sleep disturbances. These treatments typically act by globally altering the chemical communication between neurons throughout the brain. More recently, cell and molecular biology have begun to exert a strong impact on our understanding and treatment of mental illness. By targeting specific molecular sites in neurons, these techniques can provide precise, powerful and effective means of influencing brain function. One of these approaches--controlling neurogenesis in the adult brain--might have a significant impact on the treatment of mental illness. Let us first examine the current state of knowledge regarding adult brain neurogenesis. Then we shall focus specifically on the role of neurogenesis in chronic clinical depression. As we shall see, controlling neurogenesis might also be used to treat or prevent a variety of other forms of neuro- and psychopathology. They can simply copy themselves, or they can make a variety of differentiated cells, including blood, muscle and neuron. They can also make progenitor cells, which can divide a limited number of times and give rise to cell types such as neurons and glia Several pieces of evidence link clinical depression to changes in the hippocampus Gould, E (1999). Nevertheless, I do not suggest that this is the only change in the brain associated with depression, nor do we suggest that alterations in the hippocampus underlie all of the phenomenological aspects of depression. Jacobs (1992) Prescription drugs that increase serotonergic neurotransmission are currently the most common and most effective treatment for depression. Furthermore, serotonin stimulates cell division in a variety of peripheral tissues and triggers neurogenesis in the central nervous system during development. It also plays an important role in neuronal and synaptic plasticity.
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