Depression is a common disorder disabling people worldwide and has a profound negative impact on social functioning and health. The World Health Organization predicts depression will be the second leading cause of death by 2030. There are many physical and environmental factors that contribute to depression. Physiological symptoms associated with depression include chronic stress, inflammation within the brain, cognitive impairment, and an imbalance of neurotransmitters.
Depression in the Brain
The hippocampus is a region in the brain known to regulate mood and emotions. Changes in the hippocampus reduce neuronal functioning, which has been observed in depressed subjects. Another study found decreased levels of brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), a protein associated with the growth and maintenance of neurons, within postmortem suicidal victims. Stress and inflammation is known to exacerbate the degeneration of neurons within the brain linked to depression. In fact, 90% of depressive patients exhibit cognitive impairment due to dysregulation of of the brain.