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Depression - 'Chemical Imbalance'? watch

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    As someone who often gets depressed, I don't get the whole predominant theory of depression...you see it everywhere; it's caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. You need to see a doctor to get help.

    For me, I see depression as being a product of my own thinking, and environment (and this is the basis of CBT therapy; surely goes against chemical imbalance theory?)

    Obviously the mind is a complex thing, no-one knows exactly how depression works..but the chemical imbalance theory just seems like a way of avoiding the real issue, whatever is causing the depression...it's fuzzy, unproven science propagated by big pharma companies to sell more drugs. But why everyone seems to go along with it is a mystery to me :confused:
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    We have found different chemical levels in the brain of depressed people when compared to non-depressed people
    Animal studies have shown if you alter the chemical balance they show signs of depression
    Returning the balance to normal helps people with depression

    Think about it, all your brain is, is cells communicating with each other via chemicals; that's what your thought are. Your thoughts can be influenced by an imbalance, yes you think them but they come from something unnatural.
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    (Original post by Pheonixx)
    We have found different chemical levels in the brain of depressed people when compared to non-depressed people
    Animal studies have shown if you alter the chemical balance they show signs of depression
    Returning the balance to normal helps people with depression

    Think about it, all your brain is, is cells communicating with each other via chemicals; that's what your thought are. Your thoughts can be influenced by an imbalance, yes you think them but they come from something unnatural.
    But studies have shown that your thoughts actually alter your brain chemistry. So my point is thoughts come from your consciousness (however you define that) and influence the physical makeup of your brain
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    (Original post by stardog32)
    As someone who often gets depressed, I don't get the whole predominant theory of depression...you see it everywhere; it's caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. You need to see a doctor to get help.

    For me, I see depression as being a product of my own thinking, and environment (and this is the basis of CBT therapy; surely goes against chemical imbalance theory?)

    Obviously the mind is a complex thing, no-one knows exactly how depression works..but the chemical imbalance theory just seems like a way of avoiding the real issue, whatever is causing the depression...it seems like fuzzy, unproven science propagated by big pharma companies to sell more drugs. But why everyone seems to go along with it is a mystery to me :confused:

    Voila.


    All I know is that my meds work, so there is either a major placebo effect going on, or it is chemical.


    (I have bipolarity, not depression)
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    Lack of serotonin is said to be a major cause of depression. It is a hormone that controls levels of anger and wellbeing, and most drugs are targeted at increasing this hormone.

    Of course, many psychologists who are not working in the field of pharmacy and medicine would agree that it is caused by distorted cognitive thinking patterns, but these are often triggered, as I have said, by lack of serotonin, described as a "chemical imbalance" to the non-specified public.

    I highly recommend you watch the Horizon episode of "pill popping" on Iplayer, it has some information about how anti-depresive drugs work.
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    I think it's A cause of depression, but certainly not THE cause...
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    (Original post by stardog32)
    As someone who often gets depressed, I don't get the whole predominant theory of depression...you see it everywhere; it's caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. You need to see a doctor to get help.

    For me, I see depression as being a product of my own thinking, and environment (and this is the basis of CBT therapy; surely goes against chemical imbalance theory?)

    Obviously the mind is a complex thing, no-one knows exactly how depression works..but the chemical imbalance theory just seems like a way of avoiding the real issue, whatever is causing the depression...it's fuzzy, unproven science propagated by big pharma companies to sell more drugs. But why everyone seems to go along with it is a mystery to me :confused:
    It's bidirectional. We can't tell which is the determining factor, what we think is that when you're depressed there is a chemical imbalance in your brain, this doesn't necessitate that this chemical imbalance has caused the depression, the depressive thoughts may cause the chemical imbalance; we don't know. Nor is this directly relevant to CBT. And as the person above pointed out, there's no single unchallengeable cause of depression.

    CBT aims to deal with the depression from a cognitive perspective (I.E. guiding you to adopt a healthier mindset), it's one of many types of therapies, all of which adopt varying approaches.
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    (Original post by stardog32)
    But studies have shown that your thoughts actually alter your brain chemistry. So my point is thoughts come from your consciousness (however you define that) and influence the physical makeup of your brain
    It is a two way system. Thinking about something can cause adrenaline to be released and cause your heart to speed up. I'm not saying it's a completely one sided relationship.
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    (Original post by stardog32)
    But studies have shown that your thoughts actually alter your brain chemistry. So my point is thoughts come from your consciousness (however you define that) and influence the physical makeup of your brain
    It is more likely that brain chemistry alters your thoughts, not the other way round. And thoughts don't necessarily come from our conscious mind-there could be unconscious processes (thoughts and desires that we're unaware of) that trigger depression as well (see Freud).
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    I'd say it was a mixture of both - if you've got a predisposition to depression all you need is a trigger to set it off ...
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    Why the hell would your brain chemistry be imbalanced for no reason? It's nonsense. The chemical changes are a RESULT of stimuli.
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    yeah its your environment aswell. It depends whether you have social support like someone you can rely on to upload all your worries and all. Researchers have also suggested a possible link between your thinking, like if some bad goes wrong you see it as a reflection on you as a person rather than something that just happens.

    They also have suggested a link to serotonin and dopamine and glutamate.

    Its great you getting CBT, it might also be a good idea to go to a gym and try and get back into things you love doing, like if you love painting, buy some nice brushes and art set.

    Best of luck
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    (Original post by MrHappy_J)
    It is more likely that brain chemistry alters your thoughts, not the other way round. And thoughts don't necessarily come from our conscious mind-there could be unconscious processes (thoughts and desires taht we're unaware of) that trigger depression as well (see Freud).
    Yes there are unconscious processes, which Freud reckoned was driven by our primal needs. So, if your need for social contact say was not met, then there's a good chance of getting depressed. Which makes sense really since from an evolutionary perspective it's important for humans to have social contact.

    Also while depression is very prevalent in modern society this was not always the case. But nothing has evidently changed in man's brains to make this so.
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    (Original post by Reflexive)
    Why the hell would your brain chemistry be imbalanced for no reason? It's nonsense. The chemical changes are a RESULT of stimuli.
    Perhaps the same reason anyone is born with a disease? Depression is simply triggered at some point after birth.
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    (Original post by Pheonixx)
    Perhaps the same reason anyone is born with a disease? Depression is simply triggered at some point after birth.
    But depression is widespread in society (and has increased over time). Also if depression is a brain disease, how come so many people can recover from therapy alone without meds?
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    (Original post by Pheonixx)
    Perhaps the same reason anyone is born with a disease? Depression is simply triggered at some point after birth.
    People aren't born with depression. Depression is the medical term for prolonged sadness, for a start, and sadness is a natural response to events in life. The events that cause depression are masively complicated, but we understand the main ones.
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    (Original post by Reflexive)
    People aren't born with depression. Depression is the medical term for prolonged sadness, for a start, and sadness is a natural response to events in life. The events that cause depression are masively complicated, but we understand the main ones.
    They might be born with a chemical imbalance that makes it more likely or very difficult to avoid depression.

    Prolonged sadness isn't natural.
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    (Original post by stardog32)
    Yes there are unconscious processes, which Freud reckoned was driven by our primal needs. So, if your need for social contact say was not met, then there's a good chance of getting depressed. Which makes sense really since from an evolutionary perspective it's important for humans to have social contact.

    Also while depression is very prevalent in modern society this was not always the case. But nothing has evidently changed in man's brains to make this so.
    I dont think the prevalence of depression has increased significantly in modern society. it could just be that more people are diagnosed with it because it has become a recognised mental illness which was unknown in the past. Furthermore, back in the day most people were ashamed to admit they had depression so they did not seek professional help, whereas nowadays, the fact that it's a curable illness makes it more socially acceptable. The line between being depressed and being mentally stable has also becomed blurred recently.

    but yeah, social contact is vital for human beings, as it's a stimulatig process by which we learn behaviour, language etc. Think of the impact isolation has on feral children, who have had no social contact and interaction with adults whatsoever.
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    There are many different theories of how Depression actually arises, the poster than mention Serotonin touched on one of the neurotransmitters involved.

    There is the monoamine hypothesis that states there is an inbalance in the amount of Serotonin and Noradrenaline in the brain. That is why there are drugs to increase the amount of monoamines available for the brain. An example is Citalopram, which is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). Medicines in this class of drugs stop the reuptake of Serotonin in the Pre-synaptic terminal (i.e It lasts for longer).

    There is also the Dopamine theory, Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is involved in the "Reward Seeking System", and it’s the pathway which drugs of abuse such as cocaine hijacks and acts.
    One of the symptoms of depression is known to be lack of desire to do anything pleasurable, so Dopamine has been suggested to act here as well.

    The final chemical I want to talk about is Cortisol, as you know this is the stress hormone. When released in the body it can cause typical symptoms of Depression such as lack of sleep, problem concentrating etc...
    Cortisol is released from the Adrenal glands when stimulated by ACTH from the anterior pituitary, which in turn is stimulated by CRH from the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is also regulated by Serotonin and Noradrenaline. (See a cycle?)
    If you give Dexamethasone (a synthetic steroid) to a depressed patient with high levels of Cortisol their stress levels will not go down, but if given to a non depressed patient who is stressed there stress levels will.
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    (Original post by stardog32)
    But depression is widespread in society (and has increased over time). Also if depression is a brain disease, how come so many people can recover from therapy alone without meds?
    It could have increased in time due to it being reported more, only recently has it been realised that it is an actual disease and the person involved isn't just a moody bugger. Or the food we eat now makes us more susceptible or the massively increased number of stimuli in today fast life style has affected our balance in some way. We really don't know. Your body can often cure itself, or adapt to many things and besides if it is a two way system as I suggested before; you might be able to train yourself into a certian way or thinking.
 
 
 
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