Pathophysiology of Depression

Depression is one of the disorders that have been misunderstood by most people. Indeed, based on the complexity, distinctive attributes and variants of the disorder, it can be quite easy to be misled into believing certain “facts”. One of the main misconceptions of the malady is that it is not a real disorder but a mental state caused by the usual woes of life which will pass over time. This is not true. In most cases, the emotions and perceptions brought on are completely irrational. Of course being negative and depressed can be normal but when it progresses to apathy and suicidal tendencies which is how the disorder tends to progress over time, this is certainly not normal perceptions associated with the condition.

Another misconception of the disorder is that it is entirely within the mind and there is no physiological reason such as a deficiency or other aspect responsible. However the pathophysiology of depression suggests otherwise. While the exact cause is still unsure, the most conclusive evidence in terms of depression pathophysiology is the connection with the neurotransmitter serotonin as well as few other neurotransmitters such as dopamine. There is another misconception here regarding the issue with these neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters attach themselves to the end of brain receptors as a means of communication. in depressed individuals, due to unknown reasons, it does not stay with the receptors long enough which can upset the balance of communication and various aspects in the brain resulting in the symptoms associated with the disorder.

The pathophysiology of depression is what is used to treat the disorder. All treatments in use today, conventional and alternate focus on maintaining serotonin for an adequate period of time. Treatments from electroconvulsive therapy to acupuncture are known to be effective as they stimulate serotonin to stay for longer periods of time. Additionally, it stimulates production of the neurotransmitter as well which in turn helps alleviate the symptoms.

While the cause is unknown and it sometimes tend to occur and grow on a person randomly, in most cases it is brought on by some kind of incident that severely affects a person mentally. Some kind of trauma is usually to blame. Another important fact is that the inability for the neurotransmitters to stick to receptors long enough tends to run in the family. This makes diagnosing the disorder easier as it is very likely that a person who has a parent with the condition who starts exhibiting symptoms will probably have the condition.

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