Depression is a mental health or mood disorder, where the person feels depressed not getting interested in works, activities once enjoyed and always remain in sadness. It has been observed that women get more depressed than men.
The symptoms will include feeling sad or having a depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, loss of energy or increased fatigue, restlessness, Increase in purposeless physical activity, slowed movements and speech, Feeling worthless or guilty, difficulty thinking, unable to concentrate, rise in decisions making, thoughts of death or suicide, nausea, headache, etc.
Causes of depression are numerous, which may include relationship breakups, death of close relatives, loss of job, low self-esteem, failure in work, alcohol related, disappointment, victims of abuse and poverty, drug or medicine related, stress, anxiety, hormone imbalance during menopause or during and after pregnancy.
Three major areas of the brain is responsible for depression-related disorders. Which are the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex.
The hippocampus is located near the center of the brain. It stores memories and regulates the production of a hormone called cortisol. The body releases cortisol during times of physical and mental stress, including during times of depression. Problems can occur when excessive amounts of cortisol are sent to the brain due to a stressful event or a chemical imbalance in the body. In a healthy brain, brain cells (neurons) are produced throughout a person’s adult life in a part of the hippocampus called the dentate gyrus. In people with depression however, the long-term exposure to increased cortisol levels can slow the production of new neurons and cause the neurons in the hippocampus to shrink. This can lead to memory problems.
The prefrontal cortex is located in the very front of the brain. It is responsible for regulating emotions, making decisions, and forming memories. When the body produces an excess amount of cortisol, the prefrontal cortex also appears to shrink.
The amygdala is the part of the brain that facilitates emotional responses, such as pleasure and fear. In people with depression, the amygdala becomes enlarged and more active as a result of constant exposure to high levels of cortisol. An enlarged and hyperactive amygdala, along with abnormal activity in other parts of the brain, can result in disturbances in sleep and activity patterns. It can also cause the body to release irregular amounts of hormones and other chemicals in the body, leading to further complications.
Many researchers believe that high level of Cortisol impacts physical structural changes and chemical activities of the brain. This structural and chemical imbalance actually trigger depression.
For treating depression one can use medication. However, it has been found that meditation has a greater impact on curing depression. As we already know that anxiety, and stress can be cured through meditation. So, depression caused by anxiety and stress can easily be cured.
“There is a strong feeling in the neuroscience area and the psychology realm that meditation and meditative practices can change your brain physiology,” Dr. Schwartz says.
In a U.S. study of previously published research involving 3,500 people, meditation alleviated symptoms of depression on a par with conventional anti-depressants.”
Regular meditation practice activates the body’s relaxation response through the HPA axis, the central stress response system. This lowers cortisol and slows the breathing rate, relaxes muscles, and reduces blood pressure.
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