Depression is a flaw in chemistry not in character
This article will show how depression is commonly related to an imbalance in the person’s brain chemistry, and not to the person’s character. For that, it will explain what depression is, and what are its main causes.
Depression is a flaw in chemistry, not in character
Depression is a mental health condition that affects around 5% of the world population. It is a condition that has become more frequent each day. But still, as with other mental illnesses, it is covered with stigma.
People still have a lot of trouble understanding where the condition comes from, and some people may even think that it is a matter of choice or lack of character.
This view of depression tends to isolate the person going through it even more. It is something that perpetuates the prejudice they go through. Making it harder for them to keep jobs, try to get healthy, and be an active part of society.
And even though some people and even some religions have said that depression is related to sin, a lack of character, or a choice, science has been proving the contrary. It has shown how depression may be intimately related to how the person’s brain is working.
What is known so far is that for some people having a low level of some neurotransmitters, which are the messengers of the brain, such as serotonin can cause a person to become depressed. But it is not only the low level of serotonin that is related to depression.
Even though the low levels of this neurotransmitter that is responsible for that “feel good” feeling are important. Others such as dopamine and norepinephrine can also impact a person’s mood.
The first is related to the reward mechanism people have. It is what keeps people motivated to do things, and that is why people with depression may struggle to maintain doing their tasks.
As for the second, it seems it is related to the fight and flight reaction people have. And it seems that when the levels of it are low, the person can get depressed. But when it is too high, the person can experience mania.
And it seems that there are some possibilities as to why the levels of these neurotransmitters can below. The person may be having trouble producing them, or there are not enough receptor sites that the neurotransmitters can connect to, or even the neurotransmitters are being reabsorbed before they do their job properly.
That is why people should be able to look with a caring and understanding eye at someone going through depression. It is never a flaw in their character or a choice. People should understand that such things can happen to anyone, and offer those who are struggling a helping hand, not a face full of judgment.
But let’s understand a little more about depression, and its causes to leave it clear how it is not related to a character flaw.
What is depression?
Depression is a mental health condition that causes the person to experience intense sadness. It also makes the person feel hopeless, guilty, ashamed, and irritable. When depressed, the person will view the world completely differently. They will have a more negative perspective on things and even on themselves.
Their self-esteem and sense of self-worth will go down. And their sleep and eating patterns will change. Along with that, people with depression may lose interest even in things they used to love, and it may be hard for them to focus. It leads them to often develop pains and headaches.
Their energy levels will go down, and they can experience intense fatigue. Depression also affects how they relate to other people. They can begin to isolate themselves from others, and even consider self-harm. Along with that, depression may cause people to think about death, and even have suicidal thoughts.
For a person to be considered depressed, they need to experience its symptoms intensely for more than two weeks. But it is important to keep in mind, as to not judge people, that even though these are the most common symptoms, their intensity of them, and how people manifest them, may be different.
But to step away from this notion that depression is related to a person’s character or choice, let’s learn the main causes of depression.
What causes depression?
Depression is a multi-factor condition, and it can happen for some reasons, even if it is impossible to say what was the one thing that made a person depressed, it is possible to affirm that it is related to this set of factors.
It is known that depression has a genetic part to it. So when a person has a family history of depression, it may be that they have a higher chance of developing the condition when compared to people that don’t have such a family history.
Aside from that, depression can be related to external and environmental factors. For example, a person may be going through a traumatic event, such as the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or even being harassed at work. All of those can lead the person to become depressed.
And finally, as it has been said, depression may happen when a person experiences an imbalance in their brain chemistry. It can cause them to experience low levels of some hormones and neurotransmitters, and higher levels of others, which can change their mood, and how they see and feel the world.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Is depression a flaw in chemistry or character?
Can depression change my personality?
No, depression doesn’t change your personality. What it does is cause you to think and behave differently. But it doesn’t change the structure of your personality. When you are depressed, you can feel that the symptoms of it impact pretty much every single aspect of your life.
For example, a person may be extremely extroverted, but once they get depressed, they can start to isolate themselves, and people may think they have changed, but in reality, it is the depression making them change. With the proper treatment, they might be able to go back to being the extroverted person they have always been.
Is anxiety a character flaw?
No, as with all other mental illnesses, it is not right to assume it is a character flaw. Having this mentality is what keeps the stigma of mental health going. People should understand that anxiety is a common feeling and that everyone will go through it.
They may experience it before a job interview, or a first date. But to some people, the intensity of it can be so high, that it leads to many emotional, psychological, and physical reactions. Those people may begin to feel worried constantly, and be afraid that the worst can happen. This is called the fear of impending doom.
The anxiety can also make it hard for them to focus, and their heart can start to beat fast. Aside from that, they may experience shortness of breath, dizziness, sweating, shaking, and feeling their hands and feet numb or cold. Anxiety, as with depression, is a multi-factor condition.
It may be related to genetic matters, or to the stress that the person is exposed to, and is not able to cope with positively.
What is major depression?
Major depression is a form of depression that causes the person to feel its symptoms intensely. This form of depression can have a huge impact on a person’s life. And even the simplest of things, such as getting out of bed, can be impossible at times.
And even though they experience the common symptoms of depression, major depression can also cause a person to develop hallucinations, being delusional, or even have psychotic episodes. An episode of major depression can go on for a few months.
To treat major depression, the person may need the joint support of a therapist and a psychiatrist. Those two professionals that focus on mental health will offer the support the person needs.
The therapist will help them understand their emotions better, as well as think with them about the best ways to navigate the depression. In therapy, the person may even come to realize what is the root of their depression.
With the psychiatrist, which is a doctor that specializes in mental health, the person may be prescribed medication. It is those that will help set the chemical imbalance in the person’s brain, so the symptoms of depression can become less intense.
With those and some lifestyle changes, the person will be able to recover from the major depressive episode.
Does depression affect my IQ?
Yes, depression can affect your IQ. People with depression may experience a shrinkage in some areas of their brain such as the hypothalamus. And when their IQ is analyzed, they will score lower in some aspects than people without depression.
An example of this is that they will have a lower performance IQ than people that are not depressed.
But what it is important to keep in mind is that once the person is recovering from depression, their IQ levels can go back. This happens because our brain has a characteristic called plasticity. It is what allows it to adjust to what is going on, and recover itself when the moment comes.
Does depression have a cure?
No, depression doesn’t have a cure. What mental health professionals usually say is that depression goes into remission. This is said because it is impossible to affirm that once you get better from depression, you won’t experience it again.
This is completely true since we know it can happen due to genetic reasons, which won’t be changed, even through treatment. Or because of an imbalance in the person’s brain chemistry, which is impossible to foresee.
And even though this can cause people that have battled with depression to become hopeless, you should have in mind that once you go into remission you will begin to feel like yourself again. You will be able to feel joy and be interested in things.
And what you need to take from this experience, as a way to try and prevent a future depressive episode, is how important it is to not only care for your body’s health but to always pay attention to your mental health as well.
This article explained that depression is not related to choice, and it isn’t a flaw in the person’s character. It is usually related to an imbalance in the person’s brain chemistry. For that, the article showed what depression is, and how it can happen.
If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.