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How Does Depression Happen?

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posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 03:53 PM
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20th Century science assumed - based on a concentrated focus on the gene - that depression's primary etiology is genetic. Although, to date, no one gene or even a modest number of genes (say, below 10) have directly associated with depression. There are candidates, of course, but as of now the theory of the genetic causation of depression is mostly theory; that is, until the work of Mcgill molecular biologist Michael Meaney demonstrated the role behavior has on the nervous system.

There's almost something cliche, trite, banal even, about the concept of 'behavior'. How many people here recognize or understand how how they act influences others? I'm sure we get 'theoretically', but it was not until the microanalyses of the psychiatrist Daniel Stern that we could see, close up, how damn-near every movement, gesture, facial expression and sound in our voice, has determinative effects on another persons mental - and thus, neurobiological, organization.

Michael Meaney's study on rat mother behavior towards rat pups was interested not so much in the genes, but in the protein that surrounds and contains the gene: chromatin structure. In his experiments, he would see how maternal deprivation - not licking their rat pups - affected the rat pups serotonin genes. Lo and behold, Meaney discovered that maternal licking - regardless of genetic difference in rat pups - promoted playful and exploratory behavior in the pups. But what was happening at the genetic level?

Serotonin - an important 'neuromodulator' of mammalian affective experience - comes in many different types (or alleles). One type produces a 7-repeat of the serotonin molecule which in effect makes it more plentiful in the brain. This is called the "long type". The other type - the "short type", obviously, results in lower serotonin in the brain.

Meaney found that high levels of maternal licking led to methylation of genes associated with inhibition. The methylation - the adding of a methyl group (1 carbon, 3 hydrogen) attaches itself to the gene in question, and prevents it from producing RNA, and thus, the relevant protein.

This research gave us the first sign that what we think of as 'genetic', may in fact be a combination of mind and biology, conveyed through the language of behavior. But again, what is behavior? Behavior, fundamentally, is expressive of AFFECT.

Everyone knows, fundamentally, how bad it can feel to receive negative feedback from another person. In short, we experience something, a good feeling or an idea we want to share, and the other person fails to recognize it. Recognition - the process of being seen - is an essentially mental, cognitive, and even a spiritual experience.

It seems to me that the area of focus as an intervention should not merely be the biological (although that it is important too) and not just the behavioral, but the psychological.

In between feeling and acting, that is, what the body 'gives' us and what we give to others, is the mind. The mind, in effect, has belief, views, and attitudes which are not, and cannot be, chalked up to genetics, as anyone at any moment can decide on 'changing their attitude' - that is, deciding to look, or at least, desire very deeply to look, at the world in a different way.

Many researchers have argued that depression is CONTAGIOUS - as all emotions seem to be. Just being around another person who is chronically depressed can cause us to 'pick up' their attitudes, feelings, and pessimistic experience of the world.

To circle around once more to Daniel Stern. Attachment research has shown that there is a very high correlation between early-life abuse/neglect and depression; and why wouldn't there be? A developing brain is fundamentally attuned to social cues. The idea of how to be in the world is still being learned, and this learning experience comes through the vector of the mothers face, voice, and over-all interest in the child's experience. How can any child escape depression when it's brain is being trained to depress itself; to not 'seek' recognition because every time it tries, it is rebuffed. The pain of not seeing yourself reflected, fundamentally, leads to depressive affects.

Thus, we could say that depression is a social phenomenon held in place by very powerful genetic-psychological-social feedback loops. The mind feels its body, thinks a certain way, comes off a certain way to others, and in this way, the loop becomes strengthened. And person suffers. Perhaps there is no greater prophylactic against depression than to adopt an attitude - scientifically justified - that we need to be kind to others if we hope to liberate ourselves from the horrors of a depressive body.




posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 04:16 PM
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That was very well written. Enjoyed every moment of it and agree with you on every point.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 04:22 PM
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There is some good data (see Watercure.com) that some depressions (I don't know what the percentage is, but even if one person is helped by this data) are the result of long-term dehydration. People who have this horrible affliction might try adequately hydrating for a week or so, to see if it makes a difference. I know some people which it helped, one in particular who was helped enormously. I've said this before here, and gotten feedback from people who say it's a trivial and wrongheaded approach to clinical depression. But worth a try? I'd say yes, couldn't hurt.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 04:31 PM
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I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder over 15 years ago. I am not dehydrated, nor was I abused, neglected, etc by family/parents. My grandmother on my mother's side had depression, though it was not diagnosed as such back in her day. My father has some form of mental illness, possibly a type of schizophrenia as my son has it, but my father has never been diagnosed. My younger brother has schizophrenia as well. Out of six kids, we are the only two who were affected at all in regards to mental illness. it would be wonderful if a cure was found, as this day to day struggle, even while on medication, is pure hell to live with.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 04:33 PM
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Although I believe everything you said to be true, I think a huge part of people's depression is the economic climate and the oppression from governments. We were never meant to be a slave to the system. We're, beautiful, intelligent, spiritual beings and we're dehumanised by the system.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 04:57 PM
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Despite the fact that you started a sentence with the word "So" I will respond even though my answer actually belongs on the depression thread. Despite suffering with depression for over ten years now my kerching instincts still kicked in when I saw your thread title.

Kind regards
edit on 13-4-2015 by hotel1 because: (no reason given)

For what its worth this was my post in the "Can My Idea Be Turned Into Money" thread. I don't expect it to be considered relevant, it does demonstrate how those of us suffering from depression still have sharply honed instincts and fight a daily battle to live among those who cannot truly understand the forces we fight.

edit on 13-4-2015 by hotel1 because: (no reason given)

edit on 13-4-2015 by hotel1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 05:32 PM
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I agree that trying to attribute depression to a biological gene or thinking behaviorally modification is the answer is no where near as important as the psychological causality of depression.

Consider Weltchmerz , the German word meaning "World Pain" or "World Weariness"
I feel that Weltchmerz is a large part of what I experience as depression. As well as a heaping dose of self-pity. The knowledge of the world and society as it is and how bleak the situation is, creates a deeper, more encompassing sense of depression. So, with that in mind, some blues-biased gene or peers that make you feel better about yourself would not solve the problem of this feeling.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 08:09 PM
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It's how you feel when you didn't do what you should have.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 09:01 PM
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a reply to: Menrva

Even Schizophrenia is dependent on environmental triggers, hence if one monozygotic twin has schizophrenia - despite being genetically identical - the other one only has a 50% chance of developing it as well. That really does make one wonder what epigenetic processes are at work here.

Can I ask you a question? How do you know you weren't neglected or abused as a baby? Do you have a memory of it? Do you expect your parent to have an accurate recollection of it?

The infant brain grows 100% in volume in the first year and 15% in the 2nd year. This time of life - more than any other period - has major effects on genetic-epigenetic regulation of the nervous system that seems to have lifelong effects on mood regulation (barring psychotherapy, neurofeedback, or other interventions that 'equip' the mind with defenses against their experiences)

As you said, and as modern day molecular biology seems to be indicating, people with an immediate ancestor (parent, grandparent) with depression has an increased odds of developing it as well; this might, again, be something that somehow occurs through meiosis (that is, is passed on into the sperm/egg and eventually into the zygote) and thus becomes a part of the genetic-epigenetic program of the offspring.

When you have 'higher odds', it takes less of a trigger to perpetuate what was handed down to you. On the other hand, if you have a "good enough parent" - a parent who was attuned and attentive to what you were feeling and how they could help you develop self-regulation, mentalization, and a healthy sense of self, just as in the case of the rat pups mentions above, the genes of relevance would be 'methylated' - that is, inhibited from becoming expressed.

Also, even having a depressed or mentally ill parent - by virtue of how they relate with you - would become procedurally 'coded' in the infants developing nervous system. A depressed face; anxious look; a disenchanted expression; a stolid voice. These MEAN something. The infant 'picks it up', like a disease, because seeing it induces a corresponding organization in THEIR minds.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 09:01 PM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

Oh I know the answer to this one. I can't speak for everyone but for me it started when I lost my job then my wife then my home and then this month she informs me she's seeing someone else its our anniversary month and I haven't seen our kids since February. I've become acquainted with loss yet I still haven't lost my will to go on but at times even my will is in question.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 09:12 PM
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edit on 13-4-2015 by TNMockingbird because: nvm



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 09:21 PM
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First off, in answer to the thread's title question "How does depression happen?" I'm very tempted to answer with, "Birth."

The OP is chock full of good info... lotta good that does, though.

Obviously, brain chemistry is a factor... but with environment, it begs some chicken or egg thoughts.

The socio- economic factor is huge, and with populations so large that individuals feel replaceable, there's another factor... people's selfish natures and inevitable betrayals can hurt and make life's experiences seem empty and meaningless, so does the lonely nature of self... as does the most pressing inevitability... death... and entropy and the disappearance of everything including the very universe doesn't make for happy thoughts, either.

As one psychiatrist told me, after listening to me for a spell, "I don't think you are mentally ill... in fact, I'd posit most people who are depressed like you are are simply a bit more intelligent."

A nice ego boost... but not exactly comforting. But then, perhaps I am a carrier, infected with the depressive virus, as posited... which is a depressing thought... sigh. (Achoo)



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 09:42 PM
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originally posted by: Aleister
There is some good data (see Watercure.com) that some depressions (I don't know what the percentage is, but even if one person is helped by this data) are the result of long-term dehydration. People who have this horrible affliction might try adequately hydrating for a week or so, to see if it makes a difference. I know some people which it helped, one in particular who was helped enormously. I've said this before here, and gotten feedback from people who say it's a trivial and wrongheaded approach to clinical depression. But worth a try? I'd say yes, couldn't hurt.

This is very interesting; it would also help to bless your water: tell it you love it; tell it that it contains the Chi of life, tell the water it is the best thing ever invented. This is documented as being true (Japanese Studies). You can google these molecular experiments. If you tell your water you "hate" it will instantly on a molecular level cause it to change from a snow flake form into one chaotic/sludge.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 09:53 PM
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a reply to: Aleister

Heh, drink enough water... drown... problem solved!

But dehydration is very, very likely one factor and brain chemistry, itself, is the key... because we at least filter our experience in this world through our brains... and I can switch from depressed to okay with a few chemicals and no change of external situation.

When one's brain is chemically balanced, one can know the basic futility of our level of existence and be just fine with it...



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 10:13 PM
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a reply to: Astrocyte

Other than over emphasis on "mother", great OP. Perhaps it could be remedied by replacing with the concept of "paternal"?

Or is there something innately novel in female interaction?



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 10:29 PM
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originally posted by: Baddogma
a reply to: Aleister

Heh, drink enough water... drown... problem solved!

But dehydration is very, very likely one factor and brain chemistry, itself, is the key... because we at least filter our experience in this world through our brains... and I can switch from depressed to okay with a few chemicals and no change of external situation.

When one's brain is chemically balanced, one can know the basic futility of our level of existence and be just fine with it...

Tell that to the people living in dark ages from 300AD to 900 and on to 1850. They did not think to boil their water (contained pathogens like dysentery, cholera). They drank beer or wine (beer quota was a gallon a day or a 750ml bottle of wine). There was a total distrust of drinking water (did not realize tea or coffee drinking, necessitates boiling WATER) which killed the pathogens. Everyone was drunk back then and did not even know it. Wars were started and ended by raving drunks (Churchill drank a quart of brandy every day, Stalin; a half gallon of vodka).
edit on 13-4-2015 by vethumanbeing because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 10:52 PM
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Get in a car accident, lose your job and then fight with insurance company for the next 2 years.

Or how about your wife leaves you, takes the kids, makes you sell whatever is left to afford a lawyer so you can see your own kids, have a judge tell you how often you can and then pay child support payments to your ex while she trains your children to call her new boyfriend dad.

Lose a young child to cancer

Depression happens when bad things do and everybody avoids you like the plague because nobody wants to be around a negative person, and the cycle begins.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 11:01 PM
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originally posted by: bigfatfurrytexan
a reply to: Astrocyte

Other than over emphasis on "mother", great OP. Perhaps it could be remedied by replacing with the concept of "paternal"?
Or is there something innately novel in female interaction?

This show has been run by the paternal for 2000 years. What makes you think the 'fraternal society of do-gooders' will be overthrown by a bunch of female children (a novel sneak attack of 007 Bond Girls). I recognized the concept of 'Paternal messaging' immediately.
edit on 13-4-2015 by vethumanbeing because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 11:01 PM
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originally posted by: TechniXcality
a reply to: Astrocyte

Oh I know the answer to this one. I can't speak for everyone but for me it started when I lost my job then my wife then my home and then this month she informs me she's seeing someone else its our anniversary month and I haven't seen our kids since February. I've become acquainted with loss yet I still haven't lost my will to go on but at times even my will is in question.


You will look back and laugh... WITH your kids.

I often wondered what I would do in that situation. It has been close.



posted on Apr, 13 2015 @ 11:07 PM
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originally posted by: MALBOSIA
Get in a car accident, lose your job and then fight with insurance company for the next 2 years.

Or how about your wife leaves you, takes the kids, makes you sell whatever is left to afford a lawyer so you can see your own kids, have a judge tell you how often you can and then pay child support payments to your ex while she trains your children to call her new boyfriend dad.

Lose a young child to cancer

Depression happens when bad things do and everybody avoids you like the plague because nobody wants to be around a negative person, and the cycle begins.

You signed up for every experience you are having. You asked for it (just forgot) and need to remember why you incarnated; this is about the progression of your soul/individualized [stop being a cry baby].
edit on 13-4-2015 by vethumanbeing because: (no reason given)



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