the depression it is perhaps the most recognized psychopathology with the highest prevalence rates, along with others such as anxiety disorders.
It is estimated that, only in the Kingdom of Spain, a 25% of the population suffers from a depressive disorder, And a fifth of those people suffer from a serious disorder.
Discover the curious effects of depression
However, beyond the lack of hope, sadness, lack of energy and fatigue, the consequences of depression also develop in other areas causing really curious changes in our personality and in our cognition.
1. Depression squeezes the size of the brain
Research by scientists at Yale University found that depression can lead to a reduction in brain size, Because neurons in some regions are smaller and lose density. As a result, neural connections are altered. To reach this conclusion, the brain tissue of people with and without depression was studied comparatively.
This effect appears to be due to the GATA1, A protein that helps in the regulation of transcription of genetic material and is activated in the brains of people with depressive disorder.
GATA1 inhibits the expression of some of the genotypes involved in the construction of synaptic connections, affecting the size and complexity of dendrites, the basic agents for synapse to occur. This loss of volume not only causes alterations in the subject’s affectivity and cognitive abilities, but also leads to a decrease in the mass of the prefrontal cortex, the function of which is to facilitate decision-making, impulse control and emotional management. .
2. Depression obscures memories
A study from Brigham Young University found that depressive disorders have the effect of blurring memories. For years, depression has been linked to a faulty memoryBut the mechanism behind this phenomenon was unknown.
The study recruited subjects diagnosed with depressive symptoms and others without psychopathological conditions. The subjects were exposed to a series of objects that appeared on a screen. Later they were presented with the same objects and they had to indicate whether they had seen them before, if an object looked like an object seen before, or if it was a new object unrelated to those seen. before.
After studying the results, the researchers warned that subjects with depression had a greater tendency to confuse certain objects, pointing to them as similar to others that had appeared before. This suggests that depression does not cause amnesia but a decrease in the precision of details. You could say that people with depression have less skillful and fuzzy memories and therefore cannot remember certain details.
3. Depression sharpens the perception of time
Although depression is always perceived as something purely negative, this third point indicates to us a small psychophysiological advantage. Research conducted at the University of Hertfordshire found that depressed people have a more precise time perception than non-depressed people.
The research recruited subjects with moderate depression and others without a diagnosis of the disorder. Both groups had to listen to five tones, the duration ranged from 5 to 60 seconds, and just then they were asked to remember a number (it was a disruptive task) and then they were given asked to publish as concrete an approximation as possible of the duration of each piece.
It was surprising to see that, almost without exception, people without depression liked tone time more than actual time, while people with depression hit the clock much better.
The reason for this could be found in a controversial concept called “depressive realism”. Depressive realism maintains that people with depression are not affected by positive and optimistic expectations that change the perception of reality in people who do not suffer from depression.