How symptoms of depression relate to brain functions

So, Jeff, what do you tell your patients when they asked questions about how the brain functions in creating major depressive disorder? Well, I tell them that no one really knows. We have a lot of theories but we don’t really know the exact mechanisms for what causes of depression. We do know that certain chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters are abnormal in a lot of people who are depressed, but they’re not abnormal in a lot of other people who are depressed. So they don’t distinguish it specifically. You know, there is some kind of dysfunction that way, whether it’s with serotonin or norepinephrine or dopamine. The complexity though is beyond what we have any idea of. If you think about it: Each nerve cell in the brain will actually stimulate 10,000 other nerve cells! So you get a kind of geometric proportion that is beyond anything we know about. And in addition to that, you not only get the neurotransmitters affecting a nerve cell, but in each nerve cell there are a lot of second reactions and third reactions, and fourth reactions and so on! That we are only beginning to measure, and that are all part of what causes depression “symptomatology”.

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