The Invisible Yet Deadly Link Between Stress and Depression?

depression leading to angerMany 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 more...]

Can Serious Brain Injury Lead to Depression and Anger Outbursts?

There could be any number of causes for feeling angry and depressed. However, if you have recently sustained a traumatic brain injury, the cause may be quite clear. Brain trauma can often lead to severe mood swings and a lack of control over one’s emotions.

A traumatic brain injury is commonly referred to as a concussion. While not all blows to the head result in a concussion, many, especially severe ones, do. Any strong impact to the head can cause traumatic brain injury, but the symptoms and severity vary from person to person and from incident to incident. The immediate symptoms include loss of consciousness, post-traumatic amnesia, and disorientation. These symptoms will fade in all but the most severe of cases, but the damage sustained by the brain can also lead to lasting psychological effects, including outbursts of anger and depression.

Many patients who have undergone a traumatic brain injury will experience episodes of anger and depression as a part of the normal recovery process. This occurs because the area of the brain that regulates emotions will often undergo trauma during a head injury that does not allow it to function [Read more...]