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Depression Isn’t A Choice, It’s A Kind Of Brain Damage

Depression Isn’t A Choice, It’s A Kind Of Brain Damage

After years of debate, researchers finally determined that persistent depression causes brain damage, and not the other way around.  Neurologists previously had hypothesized that brain damage was a predisposing factor for chronic depression, but a new study published in Molecular Psychiatry sheds a different light.

The study, which consisted of 9,000 individual samples, collected from the ENIGMA group, succeeded in definitively proving a causal relationship between persistent depression and brain damage.  Magentic resonance images (MRIs) showed evidence of hippocampus shrinkage in 1,728 patients diagnosed with chronic depression compared to the 7,199 healthy individuals partaking in the study.

Specifically, the study found that those patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder, “showed robust reductions in hippocampal volume (1.24%) in MDD patients compared with healthy controls.”  You can read the full study here.

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    What is the hippocampus?

    The hippocampus is a small area of the brain that is located in the medial temporal lobe of the brain.  It is comprised of two halves, one which resides on each hemisphere of the brain.  It is generally agreed that the main functionality of the hippocampus encompasses the creation of new memories, the formation of long term memory, and spatial navigation.

    Inside the hippocampus resides the amygdala.  The amygdala is a part of the brain which has previously been linked with depression.  Studies in the past have suggested a direct relationship between a shrinkage in the hippocampus and depression, but the sample size of previous studies hasn’t been large enough to yield definitive results.

    The hippocampus and depression

    Researchers have found that in addition to its importance in forming and maintaining memories, the hippocampus is also pivotal in controlling emotions.  Professor Ian Hickie, a co-author of the study and a renowned mental health campaigner, explains the hippocampus’ relationship to depression, “Your whole sense of self depends on continuously understanding who you are in the world – your state of memory is not about just knowing how to do Sudoku or remembering your password – it’s the whole concept we hold of ourselves”

    Professor Hickie further elaborates on the relationship between a shrinkage in the hippocampus and changes in behavior observed in animals from the past, “We’ve seen in a lot of other animal experiments that when you shrink the hippocampus, you don’t just change memory, you change all sorts of other behaviors associated with that – so shrinkage is associated with a loss of function.”

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    Those who suffer from depression usually have low self esteem and lack confidence in managing their daily lives.  It is common for those suffering from depression to also have a deflated ego, which simply refers to an individual’s sense of self.  This could potentially affect how one forms memories, and how they view themselves in the past and thus project themselves in the future.

    What is depression?

    Depression is a seemingly hopeless state of mind where one takes extremely pessimistic thought patterns as reality. The key word is “seemingly.” Someone who is depressed generally has a deflated sense of self and a faulty perception of the world around them and how they view themselves in it.
    I believe that the state of depression manifests through repetitively regretting your past and fearing the future. It is not a singular conscious choice. I believe that it is a consequence of repetitive thought patterns that results in a negative outlook on life and one’s self in it. A negative outlook and thought cycle only leads to more negative thoughts without some form of intervention. Sort of how like an avalanche only goes faster and gets bigger when careening down a snow-covered mountain.

    These statistics concerning hippocampus reduction are intriguing as one could argue that the reduction in the hippocampus parallels this change in thought pattern. Couldn’t it be harder for someone with even the slightest reduction to step out of this negative thought cycle without the full capacity of their brain?

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    Change Your Outlook

    From my experience, my journey overcoming this condition started when I accepted what my misguided thoughts were telling me for what they were– thoughts. I found for much of my life that I tried to escape this state of mind which in a sense gave validity to it.
    One simple, but effective tool in breaking free from depression is to get in touch with the present moment. Meditation and yoga has been essential in my daily life.
    Surrounding yourself with positive individuals is also extremely beneficial in overcoming depression. Sometimes when someone is depressed they simply cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel or find any hope in their life. That doesn’t mean that those around them can’t show them it’s there though!

    Depression in the United States

    Depression is not something that should be taken lightly.  From 1999 to 2010 the suicide rate in the United States amongst Americans between the ages of 35 and 64 has increased over 25%.  Additionally, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that report that spanned from 2007 through 2010 found that almost eight percent of individuals 12 or older suffer from depression.

    In the past, depression has often been thought of as a lifestyle that people are just too weak to climb out of.  Other people might incorrectly assert that depression is a sign of mental weakness.

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    This could not be further from the truth.

    Whether depression is a disorder or disease doesn’t matter.  The fact remains that depression is a debilitating condition that drastically affects the lives of millions of people all over the world.  Depression is not just sadness, nor is it is symptom of weakness.  It isn’t discriminatory against race, gender or ethnicity.

    Most importantly, depression is not a choice.

    More by this author

    20 Quotes That Can Change Your Thinking And Perception Always Do Your Best & Watch Your Best Get Better Depression Isn’t A Choice, It’s A Kind Of Brain Damage 9 Reasons Why Everybody Should Know Who Wim Hof Is Secrets To Long Life From The World’s Oldest People

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    Last Updated on January 10, 2019

    Haircare 101: Hairstyling Tricks for Both Men and Women

    Haircare 101: Hairstyling Tricks for Both Men and Women

    Do you have a hairstyle routine? How does it look like? How often do you go to get your hair done, and how much do you spend on it? For basic hair care, most people use shampoos and moisturizers. Yet, many would like to have the hair like those people in shampoo commercials. Is that only a production trick, or can it be achieved in real life?

    Turns out that it can, and it includes a plethora of products and an intensive hair care routine. You can use a hair mask, wax, mousse, gel, spray, volumizer, misc, pomade. As you can guess, this is a neverending list, which costs a significant amount, and it takes a lot of hustle. And we can all agree that we’re too busy with our daily lives to concentrate on hair that much. Still, when you see a pretty guy or a girl, you can’t help yourself but look with your eyes wide open.

    The goal is to achieve that look without going bonkers and spend a ton of money.

    How to do it?

    First of all, you need to know yourself and your style, and then to follow it. One of the fundamental mistakes people make regarding hairstyles is the wrong choice of hairstyle. You need to choose based on your head shape and your type of hair.

    You simply can’t have a particular hairstyle if your head and hair aren’t compatible with it. Guys – check here. Girls – here. When you’ve picked the perfect one, you should get into the process of mastering it.  Ladies first.

    Hair defines your femininity

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      Through the history, the hair was a symbol of femininity. The average woman, during her lifetime, spends approximately $50,000 on her hair and almost two hours a week, washing and styling it. It is believed that our hair represents our thoughts, personality, and beliefs.

      There are dozens and dozens of hairstyles available today. The most popular hairstyles for women for short, medium and long hair are curls, waves, and straight hairstyles. Let’s get into those styles in depth, so you can make them easier.

      Curls

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        Curls give you a bit of glamorous look ideal for every occasion. If you weren’t blessed with them naturally, there are easy ways to get them. The easiest way is to do it with a curling iron. The first and the most important step is to choose a high-quality curling iron. If you are going to use it on the daily or weekly basis, it is crucial to choose one that is not going to damage your hair.

        Using heat protection hairsprays before curling your hair is necessary. For short hair, it’s recommended to use a ¾ “barrel curling iron; for medium hair, the 1“barrel is recommended, and for long hair, you should use 1¼ “barrel curling iron. Then, it’s all about the usage of this product. It might make your hair stunning, or burn your hair. Here’s a detailed guide on how to do it.

        Waves

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          Wavy hair is perfect for the casual and romantic look. The process of making them is same as creating curls, but the secret is in curling iron size. For short hair, you should use 1“barrel, 1 ¼ “barrel for medium hair, and 1 ½ “barrel for long hair.

          If you want to have loose waves, after using a curling iron just brush out the lower half of your hair or shake your head until you get the look you want. To master the curling iron, check out the ultra-useful article from BuzzFeed.

          Straight

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            Straight hair gives you classic look and classic is always fashionable. Girls with natural curls or waves need to spend more time to get this look because they need to use a flat iron, but this process is very easy and quick. Straightening irons are very dangerous to your hair, and you should be careful while choosing the best straightening iron for yourself.

            Before using the iron, apply the heat protection hairspray and divide the hair into sections. The thickness of your hair determines the number of sections – more thick hair, more small sections. Wash, dry and brush your hair carefully before using a flat iron. Make sure to set your straightener to the lowest heat if your hair is particularly thin and brittle.

            With these styles covered, you are one step closer to getting a perfect hairstyle/haircut.

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            What about guys?

            close-up of a man checking his hair in the mirror

              Since the beginning of time, it is well known that a good man takes care of himself. Remember, the single most important element of grooming, aside from basic washing and scrubbing, is your hairstyle.

              Besides making you look neat and handsome, your hairstyle tells a lot about you. Men’s grooming has reached a whole new level, and more and more people have been breaking out with their personal style. Here are some useful steps to get your personal hairstyle started:

              Everyday hair due on the go

              When it comes to choosing an everyday hairstyle, it is best to keep the details about your life in mind. Regardless of the style you want, it should work with your personality, and you’ll need to be comfortable with it. Consider all your needs, how much time you spend to style your hair, and how much effort you are willing to put in your daily look.

              First of all, decide how you want your hair to look. For the most part, you’ll want to keep it pretty much the same you usually wear. It all starts with the right tools.

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              hairstyle equipment

                Of course, you won’t get very far without a quality hair clipper with different guards and blades. Hair clippers are perfect for a casual maintaining at home. As a bonus, you can trim your beard and your intimate parts as well. You’ll be able to save a lot of money by trimming your hair yourself, so it might be a good idea to spend more upfront to get good and long-lasting equipment. Check out this hair clippers buying guide to get informed and buy the best one for yourself.

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                  The purchase of the right model might seem pricey at the first glance, but think of it as an investment. Using the hair clipper on yourself might seem strange or uncomfortable, but you’ll get used to. Now you’re one step closer to a great haircut.

                  Styling

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                    Styling your hair is the next important thing, especially if you go with the longer hair. Your hair might require styling every day, but when you get used to it, you won’t even notice the process. On the other hand, you’ll be rewarded with a perfect hairstyle every day. For that form and performance, you’ll need some products to help you out.

                    Products

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                      Select styling products that fit you and your hairstyle the most such as gel, pomade, hair wax or hair spray. Unfortunately, most of us will need more than water and a comb to get the desirable hairstyle.

                      Depending on the product and hairstyle, you’ll have several options to apply the styling product. Setting up your hair with the product before you comb your hair is a good practice, for most types of products, except spray.

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