Brain Mind Center

Depression

The term "depression" is descriptive and vague. The best use of the term “depression’ is to point to someone who is unusually sad, critical and angry; a person who does not enjoy life and withdraws from work, play and close relationships with other humans.

There are important social reasons for withdrawal, sadness and anger. All humans are involved in competition and negotiation with other humans. If you are losing a competitive struggle, you feel sad and angry, sometimes with a terrible sense of loss; you want to withdraw, hide, cry and sometimes you want to die. If you habitually lose competitions or have an effective oppressor close by, you feel dysphoric often or always. We call this social inhibition, oppression or suppression rather than depression.

There are important environmental and dietary reasons for for withdrawal, sadness and anger.

A human brain is a chemical processor whose first job is to find and ingest the right stuff to function normally. Eating behaviors are generated by the oldest regions in the brain and are closely linked to the basic patterns of life, which are hunger, thirst, sexual arousal, flight, fight, fear, and anger. Since the brain is the organ of the mind, molecular influences on the brain are manifest as mental influences.

Food choices ( including alcoholic beverages) influence brain function in a variety of ways. The brain disturbances of an alcoholic, unstable diabetic, pellagra victim, or elderly patient with vitamin B12  and/or   folic acid deficiency are all recognized examples of nutritional mental illnesses. Vitamin deficiency is always a concern with brain dysfunction, and the risk of deficiency increases as mental disorder increases. B-vitamins play a critical role in brain function. Vitamin B 12 deficiency is a notable cause of numbness, tingling, incoordination, and impaired cognitive function. Niacin deficiency presents as dementia, dermatitis, and diarrhea. Thiamine deficiency causes cognitive dysfunction and is fully expressed in malnourished alcoholics as Wernicke's psychosis. Vitamin-mineral supplementation is always a desirable component of nutritional therapy, although high doses of individual nutrients are only desirable in acute deficiency states.

The negative effects of food are seldom considered as causes of depression but in our view eating too much of the wrong food is the most common cause of depression.

Continue Depression Tutorial

 


Further reading: Neuroscience Notes, Intelligence and Learning, Language & Thinking

Persona Digital

Persona Digital Books is the publisher of The Human Brain, Neuroscience Notes, Intelligence & Learning and related books. Three books are available as print editions for mail delivery. All books are available as eBooks for download (PDF files).