This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Lukas Wardrop.
Depression is associated with widespread changes in brain structure and function. Here are a few examples:
1. A strong body of research shows that people with depression often have a smaller hippocampus . The hippocampus is well known to be important in memory as it processes memories for long term storage. The hippocampus, however, also connects to the many areas of the brain which regulate how we feel and respond to stress. For example, the hippocampus connects to the amygdala which controls our experience of fear.
Depression is regarded as a stress related illness and people with depression often gave higher levels of circulating stress hormones such as cortisol. Cortisol is toxic to the cells within the hippocampus and excess cortisol is a hypothesised mechanism for why people with depression have a smaller hippocampus . Interestingly, even in people who have not yet experienced significant stress, a smaller hippocampus increases the risk for acquiring a stress related psychiatric disease .
SOOTHING EMOTIONS WILL GUIDE YOU WITH RESEARCH, ARTICLES, AND INTERACTIVE TOOLS TO HELP YOU ON THE JOURNEY OF NAVIGATING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH.
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living.
More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn't a weakness and you can't simply "snap out" of it. Depression may require long-term treatment. But don't get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychological counseling or both.