Depression

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There is a problem effecting a small percentage of people in the United States of America, though enough that you or someone you know has most likely suffered from it. Depression is a state in of mind where ones feeling are all-encompassed by a sense of hopelessness and self-esteem is nearly extinct. When someone feels as if they have nothing left, they may act in great desperation to end it all. This shows how serious this mental state can become and could create confusion in people having them ask the question why this is happening to people they care about. Depression, having a high correlation with alcoholism and unbalanced hormones, is not simply a choice for one to make but remains something written in ones genetic code.

Alcoholism and depression are two diseases that go hand in hand. Alcoholism can be defined as a mental/physical dependence or addiction on an alcoholic substance. Alcoholism is not the most widespread problem in the United States of America, but those who does affect, it drastically changes their lives. Withdrawals effects of alcohol tend to mimic the symptoms of depression (Miller. Karl) Studies by Miller also state that there is a significant association between a previous dependence on alcohol and with one may have and a current depression (Miller. Karl). It has been established that alcoholism and depression have such a high correlation, but the reason for this has yet to be fully understood (Miller. Karl).

Since the 1800’s, scientists have been looking at the connection between alcoholism, mental illnesses, and biological connections (Snelders. Meijman. Pieters). The journal article, Heredity and Alcoholism in the Medical Sphere: The Netherlands, 1850-1900, says that symptoms of hereditary alcoholics were much more severe than regular alcoholics. (Snelders. Meijman. Pieters). Even though research has been done, it is only believed that alcoholism is hereditary. Since 60% of the alcoholics were in their thirties at the time of the study, and it was difficult to tell if the main cause of the alcoholism were hereditary or not (Snelders. Meijman. Pieters). It is logical to point to alcoholism as a hereditary issue, even though connecting alcoholism and genetics can be quite difficult (Snelders. Meijman. Pieters). The problem of alcoholism is a large factor in society’s mental illnesses which is partly hereditary, like depression (Snelders. Meijman. Pieters). Depression is not a choice due to hereditary influences that can cause one to become an alcoholic. And from what has been studied from Miller’s article, alcoholics and depression have a very high correlation, even though it Is not completely understood why.

Much like not being able to control a person’s genetic code, a person’s hormonal imbalances can affect one’s mental state. Inside a healthy person’s head, brain circuits do control activities of certain hormone levels, and not having certain brain circuits work properly can affect ones mood (Nemeroff. Donner. Narashima). The hypothalamus is one of the parts of the brain that help keep hormones regulated in a person (Nemeroff. Donner. Narashima). The hypothalamus creates and releases small amounts of amino acids, which also cause other hormones to be released into the blood stream (Nemeroff. Donner. Narashima). A chain reaction begins with the one hormonal release, keeping the hormones being released balanced. (Nemeroff. Donner. Narashima). Depression patients have different responses to this hormonal action. The patients have a slow or non-responsive reaction to substances that should induce release of the growth hormone (Nemeroff. Donner. Narashima). This shows that the hormone levels and response are different in the mind of a depressed individual. There is little one can do to change the hormone levels and a response rate a person has.

The most evidence found to show the way depression is in the head is about the dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (Nemeroff. Donner. Narashima). The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis manages stress in the body (Nemeroff. Donner. Narashima). This helps the body prepare for a flight or fight action when a threat is detected in ones’ environment, whether the threat may be physical or psychological (Nemeroff. Donner. Narashima). An overreaction or an under reaction of any hormone can cause a significant change in mood or mental health. Tests have been conducted by measuring levels of cortical (Nemeroff. Donner. Narashima). The measurements are taken from urine, blood, and cerebrospinal fluids (Nemeroff. Donner. Narashima). Thousands of people who are most severely affected by depression helped confirm this finding (Nemeroff. Donner. Narashima). Tests that have been in most show that in a depressive patient is that the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis are hyperactive (Nemeroff. Donner. Narashima). This is one of the most replicated findings in all of biological psychiatry (Nemeroff. Donner. Narashima). Biologists research this are currently not sure how to link together genetic and hormonal findings (Nemeroff. Donner. Narashima). It is taken into account that depression is known to run in families, which also leads towards the genetic aspect of depression (Nemeroff. Donner. Narashima).

Depression is widespread though out America, and the world. People say that happiness is a choice, but that is simply not true. Depression is a serious mental illness that affects up to 19 million American adults each year (Lewis). It affects these people in ways were they cannot control their regular emotion interactions, such as the way they think, feel, or interact with other people. (Lewis). Depression is not a simply a choice and ca not just be wished away (Lewis).

Thus, even though some people argue that happiness is a choice, it is obviously not. There are many factors that go into depression and happiness that people have absolutely no control over. As stated earlier, depression, having a high correlation with alcoholism and unbalanced hormones, is not simply a choice for one to make but remains something written in ones genetic code. Alcoholics are at at a higher risk of being depressed, and with alcoholism believed to be hereditary; this also goes a goes along with fact unbalanced hormones that can highly affect ones mental state. Those are things that people cannot control easily, making depression difficult to fight against.





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