The Science of Depression


With over 350 million people affected by depression
worldwide, it’s no doubt an incredibly real and serious issue. But, what exactly is going
on inside of a depressed person? Is there a biological basis for these intense feelings
of sadness? In the past, depression was often described as simply
a ‘chemical imbalance’ in the brain. Specifically, scientists believed that a lack of the neurotransmitter
serotonin was to blame, which is often referred to as the ‘feel good’ chemical. However,
the only real evidence for this was that, when some depressed people were prescribed
drugs which increased serotonin levels, it helped alleviate their symptoms. But while
chemicals most certainly are involved, this view really doesn’t capture just how complex
depression is. In recent years, scientists began to notice that the brain cell growth
and connections may actually play a larger role. When we look at the brain of a depressed person,
studies show that the hippocampus tends to be much smaller than average. Other areas
of the brain are also physically affected, but this region in particular controls memory
and emotion. And the longer a person has been depressed, the smaller the hippocampus becomes.
The cells and networks literally deteriorate. It turns out that stress may actually be a
main trigger in the decrease of new neurons in this area of the brain. In fact, studies
have shown that when this region of the brain is regenerated and new neurons are stimulated,
mood improves. Interestingly, many modern drugs, including those which affect serotonin
levels, have an indirect effect on the growth of brain cells. This is likely why serotonin-based
drugs seem to help some patients – but not for the reasons we once thought. Instead,
they promote the release of other chemicals, which ultimately stimulate neurogenesis, or
the growth of new neurons. Knowing this, some scientists now believe focus should be on
drugs which directly affect neurogenesis. But while your neurons and chemicals may be
the direct influencers, many genetic factors have been discovered as well. One particular
study found that a variation in the serotonin transporter gene leaves individuals more vulnerable
to depression. Every individual has two copies of the gene – one from each parent. And this
gene can either be ‘short’ or ‘long’. After tracking 800 young adults over 5 years,
the studies revealed that 33% of individuals with one short version became depressed after
stressful life events – and people with 2 short genes fared even worse. On the other
hand, those with two ‘long’ genes were much less likely to become depressed with
similar life stress. Many other genes have been identified which increase the likelihood
of depression too. And it makes sense when you consider that depression and bipolar disorder
both run in families. Studies of identical twins show that if one has bipolar disorder,
the other has a 60-80% chance of developing it too. So while the true cause or causes of depression
have yet to be pinned down precisely – and trust us, there is a HUGE list of other variables
that studies suggest may come in to play – it’s important to remember that depression is a
disease with a biological basis, along with psychological and social implications. It’s
not simply a weakness that somebody should ‘get over’, or even something that we
have a say in. And just like heart disease, or cancer, shedding light onto the subject
is of the utmost importance, in order to bring funding and proper research. But, is depression only a human phenomenon?
We look into the question “Do Dogs Get Depressed?” in our latest AsapTHOUGHT video, and discover
the many studies done to understand depression among other species, including your pets at
home. You can click the link in the description for that video. You can also check out the book “Animal
Madness” by Laurel Braitman which touches on the subject – in fact, you can get it for
free from our friends at Audible by going to audible.com/asap. Audible is the leading
provider of audiobooks with over 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature. You
can download this audio book or another of your choice, for free, at audible.com/asap.
And with a subscription you get one free book a month! Special thanks Audible for making
these videos possible! If you think you’re suffering from depression,
we have included some resources and more information in the description. And subscribe for more weekly science videos!

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Comments

  1. Is something wrong with the idea that every day now seems like a fixed routine of work that never changes. Life is so boring…😑😶

  2. After 8 years of bieng cronic depressed i started taking zoloft and wellbutrin and it changed my life for the better i still have days where in i feel depressed but thats oke antidepressants dont make u happy its like u got no lows and no ups u just feel normal also things like diët and working out and sleep are important 2 if u feel depressed for a while seek help the longer u wait the worst it gets its oke dont be ashamed of it trust me there are ways dont give up it gets better mutch love from holland♥️

  3. I wanna kill my self every day
    But GOD said if you killed yourself you gonna to hell .. that’s the only reason that stop me from ending my life

  4. I don't know why I cry for nothing I have a girlfriend a good life friends n stuffs good family but for no reason I cry real bad and feel useless and pathetic then I start thinking too much about my past

  5. I have a mixture of things in my mind with depression, so it is awful for me. I sometimes don't even know who I am anymore. Or what I am. I feel deeply… Different, and it hurts. And don't say "it is ok to be different! " Because I feel mentally different. I don't like it, and it makes me cry at night.

  6. I have been depressed for long stretches of my life and never reached out to anyone about it. I really have trouble remembering things that took place longer than a month ago. Is the damage irreversable now?

  7. The only reason people with depression don't have a bigger hippocampus which helps them memorize stuff is because if you can't memorize stuff, you can't pass a class, you can't not be a disappointment, you can't be happy. Don't give me a scientific reason why I'm wrong, I'm too much of a failure according to school…

  8. Have you ever felt like you need to accomplish things in order to be succesful yet you feel unmotivated to do so?? But at the same time you fear being a failure? Is that self sabotage? It is what im dealing with rn and i cant stand feeling that way, also struggling with constant abdominal pain, bloating, insomnia, and abnormal eating habits, i cant find joy in things that formerly produced excitement like my career, my dog (which is sad) astronomy, photography… I just lay in my bed when and find excuses to not do my part, i arrive late to work or do not show up at all finding my way to make up all these lame excuses which i end up feeling embarassed about yet i dont want to change… I feel like im the reason of my own failure but i dont want to do anything about it.

  9. I don't want your happy pills I want my own personal happyness. That's not sience. You put down reality. Don't you think we've had any of reality?! WE lost our smile once why lose it two time during a day just to get addicted to pills that make is "Smile" I want MY smile not something you throw together in a lab I want MY smile

  10. I believe if one listens to this, at least a few times, Understanding and Overcoming Depression | https://youtu.be/NU-Drl2PT5U (skip first 11 minutes!), one will NEVER have to listen / read another motivational / self help 'thing' again. Most will look at this video and say / think 'f' that 'bs' and for years and years will continue to ask themselves… y do I feel like a turd more then I don't. Good luck!

  11. Read this : This helped me get out of depression. Hopefully it helps you
    too. I found it on some website but i forgot what it was. I copied it
    and pasted it in my notepad. Now pasting it here:

    depression: This is a sensitive topic and here is my take on it.
    When you are depressed you feel sad,lonely,bad and you feel like you
    just want to end it. See, before you self harm yourself, think about
    this: You were a winner. You are a winner. You are still breathing. Just
    take a deep breath and think about your childhood when you had no
    worries, You had the freedom to dream and think whatever you wanted. No
    one said nothing. But, now that very own society is trying to destroy
    you. The people are never satisfied. They get jealous and they want you
    to do more,cry more. So you have two options: You can either give up and
    end this and remain as a loser in the very own cruel society or you can
    let go of it and be a winner and create a beautiful life for yourself.
    You can watch some cute videos,talk to some people online, share your
    worry online and you might find a solution for your problems. If you
    don’t find an answer, keep on searching, but don’t give up. Whenever you
    get a bad thought in your mind, replace it with two or more positive
    thoughts. Imagine a good future, not a bad one. Rewire your brain to
    think positively. But remember, IF YOU DON’T FIND AN ANSWER, KEEP ON
    SEARCHING. After all there is a solution to every problem and when you
    have a will to
    live a good life there will be a *way*. PRAY daily, Ask GOD for
    forgiveness for your sins and ask him to help you after all he has plans
    to give us hope and not leave us. Deuteronomy 31:6" Be strong and
    courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your
    God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."
    If you feel like no one loves you or cares for you, You are wrong, God
    still loves you midst of all the bad things you have done. So be
    thankful to him, pray to him and most importantly believe in him. GO TO A
    CHURCH OR A PEACEFUL PLACE AND FILL YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY. DO GOOD
    DEEDS. BE THANKFUL FOR YOUR LIFE AFTER ALL the probability of you being
    born was 1:4 trillion. SO we are born a winner. So win over depression. F
    it.

  12. Read this : This helped me get out of depression. Hopefully it helps you
    too. I found it on some website but i forgot what it was. I copied it
    and pasted it in my notepad. Now pasting it here:

    depression: This is a sensitive topic and here is my take on it.
    When you are depressed you feel sad,lonely,bad and you feel like you
    just want to end it. See, before you self harm yourself, think about
    this: You were a winner. You are a winner. You are still breathing. Just
    take a deep breath and think about your childhood when you had no
    worries, You had the freedom to dream and think whatever you wanted. No
    one said nothing. But, now that very own society is trying to destroy
    you. The people are never satisfied. They get jealous and they want you
    to do more,cry more. So you have two options: You can either give up and
    end this and remain as a loser in the very own cruel society or you can
    let go of it and be a winner and create a beautiful life for yourself.
    You can watch some cute videos,talk to some people online, share your
    worry online and you might find a solution for your problems. If you
    don’t find an answer, keep on searching, but don’t give up. Whenever you
    get a bad thought in your mind, replace it with two or more positive
    thoughts. Imagine a good future, not a bad one. Rewire your brain to
    think positively. But remember, IF YOU DON’T FIND AN ANSWER, KEEP ON
    SEARCHING. After all there is a solution to every problem and when you
    have a will to
    live a good life there will be a *way*. PRAY daily, Ask GOD for
    forgiveness for your sins and ask him to help you after all he has plans
    to give us hope and not leave us. Deuteronomy 31:6" Be strong and
    courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your
    God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."
    If you feel like no one loves you or cares for you, You are wrong, God
    still loves you midst of all the bad things you have done. So be
    thankful to him, pray to him and most importantly believe in him. GO TO A
    CHURCH OR A PEACEFUL PLACE AND FILL YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY. DO GOOD
    DEEDS. BE THANKFUL FOR YOUR LIFE AFTER ALL the probability of you being
    born was 1:4 trillion. SO we are born a winner. So win over depression. F
    it.

  13. I cant keep living like this, the role model left, then she left me, the one who gave me life was stolen, and here i am all alone lost in a dark void until i met her, someone who looks up to me like a little sister her happiness kept me going and gave me a reason to be but now she's gone too and im alone again. Why does this world do this to me, yet the only people i can talk are the suicide hotline, and you random sad people in these comments. I need help.

  14. you are depressed but people around you keep telling you " you are so negative" So you become positive infront of them overthinking how to not be a selfish person spreading negative thoughts ..you are dead inside you became numb you can't kill urself bcz of your family's feelings..so many personal issues so many economic issues you hate your body so much that even when dieting you still hear " you gained weight" ..you can't control anger you can't control anything you want to go to a psychologist but you can't afford it! Try not to open up to people cz they end up not understanding or even not listenning ..Yes this is you , i don't who am I to say you but i feel like there are 3 persons inside me ..3 times overthinking ..and you are 22 years old😂 brooo i don't know how to feel or act anymore am drowning day by day but am sure won't last forever like this

  15. Who else is having daily headache and physical pain.I hate it when people say don't be sad it is not about sadness it's about numbness

  16. Lets all be sad together. It's 3 am here and I keep thinking about my past and getting more numb and sad by the minute. You can get through

  17. I want to erase all trace of my existence, turn into a mermaid and go live in an underwater cave where my only worries is if the waterberries are ripe enough so I can make it into a pie to give to my elderly neighbor turtle or is that too much to ask

  18. I just think that I'm not good enough u know? To the point where you try everything to reach your goals but you never do so then you give up and that causes you to hate yourself for it? Or how the whole galaxy is just within your reach but there's a thin glass panel that only allows you to watch the wonders and talents but you aren't really part of it. That you're really only a piece of debris that's ruining the whole view. I miss being young

  19. I dont like the way what people says when i have depression be happy or be positve or something like that it makes me even more sad because there is nothing for me to be happy im just a weak freak tho…..

  20. What I feel :
    1. I'm Worthless.
    2. Tired
    3. Nobody loves me or cares for me.
    4. Nothin is going the way I expect or the way it should go.
    5. I'm empty inside.
    6. I feel darkness when I look at myself.
    7. I just wanna sleep and never wake up.

    Now my only hope is my mom. She is the only one who could save me from dying.
    :'(
    😢

  21. I honestly don’t know if I’m depressed or not. it switches off and on like, monthly. The worst part is that I’m almost suicidal but not enough to actually finish the job during the sad phase, but then I think things are looking up for me, my grades improve, and I have fun. Then my life starts falling apart again. it’s like I’m floating above a void while all my peers, no matter what I say, can’t hear my pleas and cries of terror

    I just smile on the outside, because I don’t want to make a big deal out of myself

    Edit: my life is looking up, I feel better. the feelings still lurk In My head though. I really hope it’s not going to come back

  22. This is why I dont wah kids, because I'm afraid of them catching my depression and I know it's hard to loose a child I've learnt it from my mother.

  23. My one and only friend: Hey there! How's it?
    Me: I'm fine.
    My brain: No, I'm broken, depressed, sad, suicidal, bruised, stressed, having Anxiety, numb, dead, crying, bloody, tired, cut,….And I feel like crap..

  24. not wanting to have anything to do with people (including my own family) has alot to do with my depression. how could i hate social interaction but want it so bad at the same time? being alone was cool when i was younger. now, everyday i fight against anxiety to keep myself from losing my mind. but what can i do talk to people? thats not even possible at this point

  25. I am so alone. No one hears me, or no one cares. No one understands. Everyone leaves me. I'm unlovable. Sometimes I feel too much. Sometimes I don't feel at all. When I'm gone no one will miss me. No one will remember. I can't imagine anything getting better anymore. No one wants to hear me. No one cares. Neither do I anymore. I just want this to end. It has to end.

  26. I don’t wanna be the type of person that says I’m depressed even though I’m not….. I’ve just been crying out of nowhere for no reason or because something little aggravates (I’m also in the middle of puberty so I’m pretty sure it’s just that)

  27. It's way of life for me. I use MDMA to feel something. There are variations of benzodiazapines to help regulate heart rate and control emotion.. only thing that gives me comfort is casual conversation. Especially after the kind of shit I've seen.. Forget relationships.. Normal is a word for ppl that haven't had to fight… I feel dead yet I walk among you. the ability to breathe is something most take for granted, as I forget what that normal breath feels like….. I can only remember red sky.

  28. I’m sick of people Telling me that I should not be depressed cause I have a full time job and a brand new truck and that a lot of people wish they’d had that stuff cause even though I have that stuff I still feel depressed I was told that nobody will never understand unless their feeling the same exact thing I’m Feeling

  29. My depression feels like
    Im in a dark box
    I am trapped with negative thoughts
    Outside is positivity
    I see a door
    But it is locked
    I see a window
    Yet it is shut
    I see hope
    But I have no faith
    I have nothing to do
    But let the darkness pull me inside
    And sit
    And cry
    And wish that someday
    I will be free……

  30. I don’t feel like anyone likes me, my own friends said it’d be embarrassing if they brought me to a party. My friends aren’t even like that, that’s why it hit me hard.

  31. I’ve only been dealing with it for a few months and it’s torture! I don’t understand how some of you can go years with depression unless. Mine must be worse I guess everyone is different. But I literally can’t function it sucks! I just want to feel normal again

  32. Normal and happy people always are curious about depression, that what is depression, why depressed people always behave like dramatic. But the reality about depression is, depression is like a black hole, who grasp everything, even positive thoughts. But in the last what remains is the hope, which is immortal…… Hope…. &….. Hope

  33. People say depression will just pass away that it’s fleeting feeling but, why do I feel empty inside? I do pray everyday, I eat healthy and I try to be positive as much as i could. Still, there are nights when I felt hopeless, empty, sad, thinking deeply the reason and how i will continue my existence if my parents will pass away from this world. It’s like I’m programmed to do the things in this world study work and survive till you can and what’s after? I was born from a happy family and surrounded with great people but, why do i wish had i never been born? If only i could easily donate my life to someone who needs it badly I would willingly and gladly offer my life. 😔

    Yes, I frequently experience suicidal thoughts and talking it to a professional wont even help me. They wont be able to understand me no one would. I’m afraid to kill myself because I don’t want to be punished by God for taking my life 😞

  34. The upbringing of a child can also cause a child to grow up into a depressed adult. A child growing up under parents who's style of parenting is improper or abusive can cause the child emotional trauma, making them depressed or damaged individuals upon reaching adulthood.

  35. The science of depression is bullshit.
    People get depressed because people have sad shit happen in their life.

    All being depressed mean's is overwelming sadness.

    Not to mention antidepressants and antipsychotics in the long run cause tardive disconeshea which is brain damage resulting in involuntary twitching.

  36. I want my suffering to end and I want to kill my pain. Kill my void. I hate breathing. I cant handle knowing that I will be alive tommorow. Although all I think about constantly is my own death, I just cant pull the strenght together to end my life. I am to scared of the physical pain and that I wont succeed at killing myself. I want to kill my mind. I want to feel and be nothing. Never have to love or feel anything at all. I want to stop suffering every single minute of every single day. It is torture. And honestly I see the beauty and love this world has to offer. But all that is just tempory. The only think persistant throughout your life is pain. Pain never leaves. So I dont want to live in this imperfect world. Everything and everyone no matter how full of love and happines will or has caused pain. I dont need your Imperfection. I just want to die in my sleep while dreaming of a perfect world

  37. I’ve been depressed since I was a child. I have a really terrible memory. I’ve gotten used to it tbh. I don’t know what it’s like to be happy. When I’m alone, I just cry for no reason. But I have a job, I support myself and I have friends though most don’t know what I’m going through. People seem to like me but ultimately I just want to be left alone and sleep all the time. I feel exhausted when I go out and socialise. The older I get, the less debilitating it is but I don’t think I’ll ever know what it’s like to be happy.

  38. I never admitted i had depression for so long to the fact i thought i didnt and that i was just being over dramatic. But reality is, everyday feels the same i dont feel happy im constantly complaining ab the insecurities i have. My memory and emotions have gone to absolute shit. I cant remember anything i physically need to write it down to remember. All my school years, everyone says i show no emotions and expressions when i dont even realize it. I think life is perfectly fine but my mental health is truly deteriorating each day.

  39. I don't want to die, I want to disappear to a pocket dimension where I can stop aging and have a big time out from living in this society.

  40. It's depressing that I cant stay sad for more than a couple minutes. I hate that everything can be labeled good or bad depending on how u look at it. It makes me sad that I quickly adapt or easily find the good/beneficial side to anything before fully analyzing the lesson that the pain or failure taught. Its overwhelming to know that a lie has the power to change your mood just as much as truth. Or how many people dont know we are goal oriented, even small tiny goals/habits such as a walking around the block or some good ol' exercise/errands can leave you with a feeling of accomplishment. Cringey how some people think there's nothing in the world they like although they haven't tried or explored much at all. Man it sucks to feel great 🙁 haha

  41. I remember the first fuckin day of this nightmare…i was 8 and sitting in my room…my mom was on drugs and I hadn't seen her for almost an entire year… I felt an over whelming sadness… I didn't want to eat… all I want to do is sleep… I'm now 12 years old… I still feel this feelings I still want to die…

  42. Depression is a tourture suffering from it every single day…its not.a phase its an on going battle with your brain. U have to maintain yourself to not fall into it and its no fun cause its frustrating to work that hard on something that complicated its an awful awful thing..

  43. When u realize random strangers in this comment section are more helpful and nice to u than fam and friends

  44. For past four days I been crying because life is going by fast and I’m getting older fast and Ik my parents will go before me and I will go eventually 😭😭😭😭

  45. I am not depressed , at least I don’t think i am because I don’t want to self diagnose myself. This is how I’m feeling, life is boring, everything that you can do costs money so all you can do is go to school depressed everyday. This summer I am laying in bed all day and my family think less of me. Everyday feels the same and I feel there is no hope so I just lay in bed all day

  46. I was diagnosed 5 years ago. Nothing has changed. Actually, everything is worse. No amount of counseling, pills, or hospitalizations have helped. Will it ever change?

  47. bro from your guys stories and many more from others, i feel like when im a sad sack, its nothing and that its probably nothing. which makes me more sad(?) idk anymore oh god why did you leave us

  48. 😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟😟

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