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 Can MRI Scans Reveal Brain Anomalies in People With Depression?

woman puts together brain puzzle

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in America and millions of citizens experience a type of depression annually. If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, you’re not alone. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, roughly 17 million U.S. adults in 2017 reported having at least one major depressive episode in the previous year. Research shows that adult women (8.7%) more often experience a major depressive episode versus men (5.3%). Having depression involves much more than feelings of sadness. It is a mood disorder distinguished by chronic feelings of despondency and a loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities. When symptoms such as these occur for at least two weeks, the event is termed a depressive episode. However, there is new hope on the horizon for people with depression. Researchers report that MRI scans can reveal significant elements present in the brains of depressed individuals. According to a new study, MRI scans can detect abnormalities in the brains, as well as identify a biomarker involving the blood-brain barrier, of people with major depression. If these results can be replicated, MRIs could lead to improved diagnosis and an increased understanding of depression. In another promising development, researchers have discovered that less water moves across the blood-brain barrier in those with major depression versus the brains of controls. Specifically, experts detected that individuals experiencing major depression had abnormal patterns of inhibition and excitation in the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain helps to regulate the amygdala, a part of the brain responsible for the expression of mood and emotion. The finding is significant because it provides evidence for the theory that amygdala malfunction can result in symptoms of depression, thus paving the way for targeted treatments which can mediate depressive episodes.

If you or someone you love is struggling with depression and addiction, now is the time to reach out for help. At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals who understand addiction in all its forms. We use an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor, you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan. We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us today at 844-413-2690.