Can Depression Cause Dementia?
Anxiety disorders are the most typical mental diseases in the US. Depression and anxiety are conditions that debilitate patients’ mental health and reduce their life quality. Modern science has always been focused on anxiety alone, while depression affects more than 15 million Americans, 5 times more than those with anxiety.
Scientists have put forth a theory that there is a link between depression and forthcoming dementia in elderly people. To predict mental decline and prevent dementia, it is important to know its early signs and make behavior changes before people age. Can depression cause dementia? Let’s find out.
What Do You Need to Know About Depression?
Recent scientific research stated that people who acquired depression late in their life had a 70% higher risk of having mental decline, while people who had been depressed since middle age had an 80% risk.
Aged people misattribute the symptoms of depression as inevitable aging consequences. They deny the appearance of a depressive illness, ignoring sadness and thus allowing treatable memory conditions to develop unchecked. In fact, depression really comes when people get older. The death of a spouse or other relatives, the side effects of some medicines, and the necessity to move to another living facility put adults at risk as they age. A number of developed illnesses up to this age (heart problems, diabetes, cancer, etc.) also increases one’s chances for obtaining depression and making chronic diseases worse.
To figure out a depression definition, let’s define the common signs of this condition. They look like symptoms given below:
- pessimism, confusion;
- fatigue, lack of energy;
- feelings of hopelessness, helplessness;
- trouble sleeping;
- difficulty in concentration;
- loss of interest in social activities.
People with such complaints feel restless and irritable. Even their favorite meals look unappetizing.
According to social surveys, 16 million Americans have experienced at least one major depressive incident in their life. Besides, depression is one of the leading disability causes in the US for people aged 15 to 45.
There is a difference between regular anxiety and anxiety as a disorder. The point is how much it affects one’s ability for normal functioning and the time it lasts. If it persists for weeks, it is a sign to seek medical help, as such people have the probability of getting a brain impairment.
How Depression Affects Human Brain
What is the biological mechanism of interaction between dementia and depression? As clinical research suggests, depressed people produce a higher level of the stress hormone cortisol. In turn, it has a negative impact on the hippocampus, a structure of the brain responsible for memory and new learning.
Other evidence proves that a state of depression leads to the chronic brain inflammation, which ruins the blood vessels and results in neurodegenerative changes. Day-to-day anxiety and other severe mental conditions perform measurable changes in different brain areas. Except for the deterioration of neural networks, they affect the anterior cingulate cortex (center of conflict and resolution) and the prefrontal cortex (zone responsible for planning and executive functioning).
If left uncured, anxiety disorders and depression can damage a human brain. Treating depression is not only helpful for improving the life quality of patients and relieving their suffering, but also preventing them from disorders of various mental processes. Recent analysis shows the connection between vascular dementia, depression, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
It is very crucial to start depression treatment at its early stages to avoid a great loss in cognitive abilities in later years. Leading to brain dysfunction, mood and anxiety disorders also result in lost productivity and the ability to work. Don’t let adverse effects on the brain occur regarding an increasing number of depression episodes in human life, according to the recent statistics.
Does Our Brain Really Age When We Are Depressed?
A new study conducted in the Netherlands proved that patients suffering from depression age faster. The scientists measured the length of telomeres, which are cell structures that crown the end of chromosomes and protect our DNA when the cells divide. As a rule, telomeres shorten every cell division, so their length is considered a cell-aging index.
Patients who have suffered from depression have shorter telomeres as compared with another group. It proves that cellular aging was higher by several years in people with depression. Along with mood disorders, being overweight, drinking, and smoking also contributes to brain aging. Any psychological distress has a detrimental effect on a human body, as well, making it biologically worn out.
The length of telomeres was calculated in a trial, taking into account a number of DNA building blocks called base pairs. The number of telomeres in healthy people amounted to 5,540 pairs, and only 5,460 pairs in people with depression. Regarding the age of participants that ranged from 18 to 65, the number of telomeres decreased on average by 14 pairs with each coming year.
However, a key question remains: whether this process of aging can be reversed. Fortunately, in most cases of depression treatment, the answer is positive. Telomerase is a special enzyme which extends telomeres and adds nucleotides to the end of each chromosome. People can amplify telomerase activity and thereby elongate telomeres by making changes in one’s lifestyle and taking special remedies.
Professionals in mental health report that there are methods for improving and maintaining our mood to prevent a decline of cognitive abilities. Preventive measures in combination with cognitive behavioral cure, talk therapy, and medication treatment would be very helpful in supporting our brain health.
Some simple steps will diminish one’s chances of getting dementia and other brain damages and will be much beneficial for both the physical and mental state:
- get good sleep (8 hours to be fully repaired);
- quit drinking and smoking;
- avoid processed foods and sugary products;
- eat probiotics to improve your gut health (a great mood improver);
- participate in sports (or dancing);
- enjoy a relaxation procedure of massage;
- listen to music;
- work your mind with crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, and brain-teasers;
- be socially active.
Most brain-related disorders are usually the result of serotonin deficiency. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, famous for increasing mood, learning, sleep, memory, and appetite. To cope with mental disorders, people are often prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, drugs that increase the level of serotonin in the brain.
ModafinilXL offers powerful nootropics that can boost your memory, focus, motivation, and mood. If you want to sharpen your mental abilities, to treat depression and slow down the signs of aging, try Armodafinil and Artvigil as effective neuroenhancers. Generic medicines that contain Modafinil are the best brain stimulation drugs as they have few adverse effects.
Keep your mood disorders under control and have them treated at their first appearance. Take all possible preventive measures to keep your mind sharp and clear.