A research that studied brain imaging was conducted at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, Canada. The study revealed that long-lasting depression alters the brain, suggesting that a change in the way the professionals treat depression and its progress.
The study was published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry.
The research shows that people suffering from depression for longer periods without treating the illness presented considerably more brain inflammation in comparison to the people who suffered from depression less than ten years.
In a previous study, Dr. Meyer and his research team revealed the first clear evidence of brain inflammation in the cases of long-lasting depression.
This new study, however, offers the first biological proof major brain alteration in cases of long-lasting depression, suggesting that this is a different stage of this mental disorder that requires different therapeutic approaches. Similar approaches should be considered for the advanced stages of the Alzheimer’s Disease patients.
Depression can be progressive
Although the depression disorder is not considered a degenerative brain disease, the alterations in brain inflammation prove that, for the patients suffering from depression for the long-term, it can be a progressive condition and not a static one, as many doctors believe.
However, currently, regardless of how long a person has been ill, a major depressive disorder is treated in the same way as a minor depression illness.
While a few people may only present some episodes of depression in a period of time, other patients experience long-lasting and frequent episodes for long period of times, such as 10 years, which eventually cause difficulties fulfilling daily tasks or even going to work.
The study was conducted on 25 subjects who were suffering from depression for more than a decade, 25 people suffering from depression for less than a decade, and a control group formed from 30 healthy people.
The results showed that the damage in patients with long-lasting depression is 30 percent higher than in the other groups, leading the study’s authors to conclude that long-lasting depression alters the human brain.