Depression, Mental Health

The Biology of Depression and Its Psychology

I ran into a very interesting video today on A Broken Blue Sky.  While it is rather long, it does a good job of explaining the biology of depression and its psychology.  Dr. Daniel Sapolsky from Stanford University covers some symptoms of major depression such as Anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure), Grief, Guilt, Self-Injury, Psychomotor Retardation (everything becomes exhausting and is just impossible to do), and Vegetative Symptoms such as sleeping, appetite, and stress hormones. According to Dr. Sapolsky, these symptoms all bolster the idea that major depression is biology-driven and is not just the type of “Oh, come on now, pull it together” depression that most people deal with occasionally.

I’ll admit that I got totally lost when he was talking about how the brain actually works in a depressed person and will have to watch this portion a few more times (and do some personal research) to understand this part. However, the parts that I did understand make sense in bolstering the idea that depression is a medical problem, just as diabetes is.

I also found it extremely interesting when he talks about the sleep cycles of “normal” people versus the sleep cycles of those with major depression. This is probably because one of my main concerns is my sleeping problem. His explanation almost makes me want to go have another sleep study done so that I can ask to see the chart of my brain while asleep.

I also found his comments about hypo-thyroid problems to be very enlightening because I was just diagnosed with this a couple of months ago.  I will definitely have to do some more research on this.  Dr. Sapolsky stated that the best estimates are that 20% of major depressions are, in fact, undiagnosed thyroid problems.  Wow!  I know that Roz has asked me about my thyroid levels before, but I’ve never expressed that concern to my medical doctor.  I can’t wait to see Roz again to tell her about this.  I also can’t wait to see if these medications do, in fact, make a difference in my depression.  I’m going to be mighty hacked off (in a way) if this turns into the magic-pill that I’ve been looking for.  Wouldn’t that be something?  We shall just have to see.

Anyway, if you have the time and the inclination, check out this video by Dr. Sapolsky and see what you think.  It can never hurt to learn more about depression.

So many people in today’s world still do not understand depression.  Until we all understand how depression affects someone and about its origin, the stigma will continue.


THOUGHTS ABOUT MY THOUGHTS:  Really, really enjoyed this video and it has certainly given me many things to research.  I love reading about the how’s and the why’s of depression.

TODAY’S FEELINGS BAROMETER:  Slept late this morning (but then, I didn’t go to bed until about 3:30 and it was probably an hour or so before I actually fell asleep).  Lazy afternoon.

~~~ Betty