What You Don’t Know About Depression

Blog-What You Don't Know About Depression

Approximately 15.7 million American adults are affected by depression.

Many of us are no longer shocked by that statistic as we may have loved ones who have struggled with depression or had encounters with it ourselves.

Depression affects every area of one’s life

Many of us would be shocked if we understood the extent to which depression can affect us. It can have an effect on our personalities, relationships, careers, hobbies, and even our brains. Much in the same way our good habits can change our brain for the better, the sadness and isolation of depression can change our brains for the worse.

Research has shown that, over time, depression can start to wear down the important gray matter in crucial areas such as the:
1. Prefrontal cortex (the command center of the brain)
2. Hippocampus (the brain’s emotional and memory center)
3. Activity in these areas is often lower than it should be in people suffering from depression, depending on the type, but brain SPECT scans are showing that these areas are being actually changed by the depression.

Depression is a brain disease not just sadness

Depression is much more than just an extended, deep sadness; it is an extremely complex disease with a set of challenging symptoms that are the result of biological problems in the brain; it can affect anyone, from grandparents to grandchildren.

Instead of going away on its own, depression will often stick around, changing you and, as demonstrated by research, your brain. Many people have tried to explain this feeling; some say they now feel trapped and alone when they used to be so happy.

Brain Systems Involved with Depression

Through brain SPECT imaging at Amen Clinics, we have found that there are five major systems in the brain involved with how we feel, what we think and how we act or behave.
Abnormalities in any of these five systems – including combinations – can contribute to the symptoms of depression.
1. The Basal Ganglia: Allows for smooth integration of emotions, thoughts, and physical movement.
2. The Deep Limbic System: Sets the emotional tone of your mind, stores emotional memories, controls motivation and appetite.
3. The Anterior Cingulate Gyrus: Responsible for cognitive flexibility, this is your ability to go with the flow, adapt to change, and deal successfully with new problems.
4. The Temporal Lobes: The storage of memories and images that help us define our sense of ourselves.
5. The Prefrontal Cortex: The “Executive Center” of the brain.

But this news is not all bad. Many of us know how it feels, and are working on feeling better. We realize we are not as alone as our changing brains make us feel and depression CAN be treated. However, having seen tens of thousands of patients at Amen Clinics, we know that depression is not a simple disorder with a one-size-fits-all solution.

The Amen Clinics biomedical evaluation is part of the Amen Clinics Method Four Circles Approach to mental and physical health. We treat each patient as an individual, and take a full personal history before beginning SPECT imaging or recommending any treatment program. Call us today at 1-888-288-9834 or schedule an appointment online.


  1. Like the saying goes: “It’s the paradigm, stupid.” Change the environment (epigenetic influences) in which you exist and the rest follows. If you’re depressed, it’s probably because you either consciously or unconsciously realize that most of us live in a pretty depressing culture. Figure out what would make you happy and change your life, your surroundings, your vocation, your friends, and everything else to resonate with what makes you happy. Depression isn’t a cause, it’s an effect. Eliminate the cause, the effect disappears. Simple.

    Comment by Trust me, I'm the Doctor — June 24, 2016 @ 3:02 PM

  2. Dr…..you obviously are not taking into consideration those persons who suffer from manic depression and other “chemical” imbalances of the brain. You suggests to figure out what would make them happy is not that easy of a fix for them – it would be harder for them to eliminate the cause.

    Comment by Midwest — June 24, 2016 @ 3:30 PM

  3. Oversimplify much?

    Comment by Meepmeep — June 24, 2016 @ 3:35 PM

  4. First, Nutritional deficiencies need to be assessed with available blood and urine tests. Methylation and it’s effect on basic nutrients is essential to understand. Basic nutrients such as B12, zinc, copper , folate must be adequate and in balance. Scans may show the changes from a norm but the real healing comes from nutrition.

    Comment by Barbara Sigel — January 5, 2018 @ 8:27 AM

  5. I have been depressed since I was a kid. I grew up severely abused over many years. When I was 34 and 35 years old, I was hospitalized for depression and anxiety. After taking a series of tests, my doctor told me I had a major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder. It is very painful to live with these illnesses.

    Comment by Susan M Reichert — January 5, 2018 @ 9:08 PM

  6. Some are depressed and its from trama to the head as a child or over years.Head trama causes other body problems,it’s all connected I think…For Years I have stuffed with body pain,confusion,then very happy,or very sad, I am now having raging I cannot control. I am so very tired of pills I want it to stop,, I want to be normal and happy,witch most of the time I can make myself believe I am. I am now 61 this started at 10 I am exstreamly tired, I trun to god now and I find he helps,good luck to everyone that suffers

    Comment by Pamela — January 6, 2018 @ 5:23 AM

  7. I believe that depression is a messenger. It tells us to pay attention, something is wrong. What is wrong could be physical, mental, spiritual, relational, life choices or any combination of these. It is often a process of elimination, and before you jump on the antidepressant train, start with the basics. And especially pay attention to your closest relationship – with your spouse/significant other. If that is unhealthy, you will become increasingly affected by depression and dysfunction. Look for alcoholism, disrespect, abuse or subtle things like lack of good communication, intimacy, companionship, inclusion, or just a feeling that something is missing. You may find sexual addictions (pornography, one night stands, affairs, dating web site addictions, prostitutes, etc.), alcoholism, gambling……… Emotionally healthy people are so finely attuned to others, that even problems you can’t readily see in others can harm you.

    Comment by Minnesota — January 7, 2018 @ 4:56 PM

  8. Very dangerous thinking that doesn’t take into account people who deeply suffer with depression and similar disorders. It’s people like you that make me hide my illness from the world.

    Comment by Brad — February 9, 2018 @ 6:31 AM

  9. The first thing you must do is clean up your diet. then you need a multi vitamin with minerals. Then we all need a B complex at least 100mg twice a day. Vitamin c 2000-5000mg daily, and an oil, either fax, fish,etc. vitamin b and c are water soluble and stay in body 5-6 hrs only. Then get yourself some seperate vitamin b3 niacin! At least 500 extra mg twice a day. Vitamin b3 is called natures Valium . Please understand, there is not a condition of the body or the mind that is a prescription drug deficiency ! All disease is truly a chemical imbalance! It is an imbalance of the bodies chemicals, and theyare only fats and oils, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and water and all disease, body or mind is a deficiency of one or more of these components (chemicals)!

    Comment by RoseAnn — February 9, 2018 @ 1:02 PM

  10. If a person suffers from depression for a long period of time, can it prompt psychotic break in a person, showing up as schizophrenia, bi polar, schizoaffective?

    Comment by CECILIA ODONNELL — February 9, 2018 @ 1:09 PM

  11. I’m happy to hear that Amen Clinic treats each client individually. Those of us who think simplistically haven’t had much experience dealing with their own depression, severe depression or otherwise, nor the experience of working with others with depression. Depression can be a rather complicated issue and it would benefit each of us to stop jumping to conclusions, Dr or not. Some of these comments could send a person suffering from depression into a state of suicidal ideation because we’ve lost our ability to be kind, considerate and humble.
    For myself, some of my episodic depression stemmed from the gut, etc. A strict gluten free diet (for autoimmune reasons) helped to alleviate a good portion of those same symptoms. Then a yeast cleanse offered more healing, but this Parasite cleanse cleaned up my brain and I’m back to feeling like I did when I was a young adult, and I’m not. It does take an individual approach. One size does Not always fit everyone. So let’s stop jumping to conclusions with our ‘know it all attitude’ and exercise Kindness, Compassion And Humbleness.
    My 2 cents.

    Comment by DruminLady — February 10, 2018 @ 10:10 PM

  12. How do I get the brain fit package?


    Comment by Edward Pondexter — February 11, 2018 @ 9:09 AM

  13. Roseann, you are right on with the vitamin regimen. Our bodies are individual chemistry experiments that must find balance and equilibrium. The foods, drinks, drugs and other substances we consume will either promote or prohibit balance in our bodies. With so many chemicals added to our food supply, label reading is a must. I have cleaned up my “food act” and now manage my depression with organic foods, vitamins & a couple of supplements that work for my body chemistry. It took time and patience, and everyone’s chemistry is different. Spiritually, my Christian faith has been a major influence in finding peace, and I praise God for the healing He has done in my life.

    Comment by Laynee — February 11, 2018 @ 5:17 PM

  14. Hello Edward, thank you for reaching out. To discuss treatment options and services please call our Care Coordinators at 888-288-9834.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 12, 2018 @ 11:50 AM

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Contact Us