Disorders of the Brain and How They are Linked to Depression and Suicidal Thoughts



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Disorders of the Brain and How They are Linked to Depression and Suicidal Thoughts


  • Scientist do not have a complete understanding of what causes mental illness




  • The fields of neuroscience, psychiatry, and psychology address different aspects of the relationship between the biology of the brain and individuals’ behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, and how their actions sometimes get out of control.




  • Most scientists believe that mental illnesses results from problems with the communication between neurons in the brain (Neurotransmission).




  • The level of the neurotransmitter serotonin is lower in individuals who have depression.




  • Changes in other neurotransmitters (in addition to serotonin) may occur in depression, thus adding to the complexity of the cause underlying the disease.




  • Although scientists at this time do not know the causes of mental illnesses, they have identified factor that put indivduals at risk. Some of these factors are environmental, some are genetic and some are social.




  • A person who has a mental illness cannot simply decide to get over it any more than someone who has a different chronic disease such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease can. A mental illness, like those other diseases is caused by a physical problem in the body.




  • Attitudes about mental illness are changing, although there is a long way to go before people accept tat mental illness is a disease with a biological basis.




  • Many people have a mental illness don’t get the treatment that would alleviate their suffering.




  • Depressive disorders in young people confer a higher risk for illness and interpersonal and psychosocial difficulties that persist after the depressive episode is over. Depression in youth may predict more severe illness in adult life.




  • Treatment, including psychotherapy and medication management, is cost-effective for patients, their families, and society. The benefits include fewer visits to other doctors’ offices, diagnostic, laboratories, and hospitals for physical ailments that are based in psychological distress.




  • A diagnosis of mental illness is rarely simple and straightforward. There are no infallible physiological tests that determine

  • Children and adolescents who suffer from depression are more likely to commit suicide than are other youths. As in adults, episodes of depression are likely to recur.

  • Dysthymia is less severe than major depressive disorder, but it is more chromic.

  • Genetic causes have been suggested from family studies that have shown that between 20 and 50 percent of children and adolescents with depression have a family history of depression and that children of depressed parents are more than three times as likely as children with no depressed parents to experience a depressive disorder. Abnormal endocrine function, specifically of the hypothalamus or pituitary, may play a role in causing depression.

  • Patients who continue to take their medication for at least six months after recovery from major depression are 70 percent less likely to experience a relapse.

  • Research from National Institute of Mental Health estimate that as many as seven percent of adolescents who develop a major depressive disorder become victims of suicide.

  • The hippocampus is a seahorse-shaped region of the brain found on both the left and right sides, buried a few inches in from the ears.

  • It has a critical role in memory and is part of the connected circuit of brain regions called the limbic system that generates and regulate our emotional lives.

  • Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford neuroscientist, suggested that chromic stress might unleash a cascade of stress hormones, which over time might kill hippocampal cells.

  • There have since been several studies that have shown that hippocampal size in depression correlates with the length of time a person has been depressed.

  • BDNF belongs to a family of genes that influence brain growth, stimulating it like fertilizer in a garden. Antidepressants may act in part by increasing BDNF fertilization in the hippocampus.

  • On average men aged 64 years have smaller brains than men aged 60. However, despite this shrinkage cognitive functions – like memory, attention and speed of procession – are unaffected.

  • The brain is the “command center” of the human body.

  • It controls the basic functions of our bodies our movements.


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