Many of us can sense, without really having to think about it, that stress can cause or exacerbate depression. Yet very few are able to put a finger on how it actually happens. At the end of the day if we can learn about it, maybe we can stop it and feel better, don’t you think?
Stressors are all around us, causing us to feel like we never get a break and that we will never catch up. Particularly stressful events, such as getting terminated from your job or losing a loved one, are well known triggers for depression. This clear link between emotions like stress and depression has prompted a number of scientific studies, which found that there may be much more connecting the two emotions than we had previous realized.
What most people don’t realize is that stress is not just effecting you on an emotional level. It is actually causing physical changes to your brain that lead directly to depression. Stressors affect the homeostasis, or balance, in your brain that allows it to function properly. Chemicals called neurotransmitters travel throughout your brain, affecting and regulating your mood and your actions. Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters that stimulates your brain, effecting your mood and causing feelings of reward and gratification. It is an important part of what allows you to feel pleasure. Serotonin is another neourotransmitter, which causes feelings of happiness and well-being. When something hinders the ability of dopamine and serotonin to get to your brain, it can lead to serious Read the rest of this entry »