What is depression?

Depression is a chronic feeling of loss of motivation, lack of interest, fatigue, dullness, or sadness. Symptoms of depression include loss of appetite, difficulty concentrating, changes in sleep, and difficulty completing daily goals or tasks. Some people experience only depression, or only anxiety, but a lot of people experience anxiety with depression.

What causes depression?

Feelings are important for motivating you to do anything with your life. Depression is caused by not having enough positive feelings, and can be a result of lack of activation in the brain after accomplishing a task. More technically, depression can be caused by dysregulation in the immune system, poor diet, brain inflammation, and brain imbalance.

The solution

Brain imbalance is particularly relevant to depression. Chronic stress and depression are both linked to significant destruction of brain tissue in the prefrontal and hippocampal regions of the brain ( Brain ReBuilder exercises help stimulate and build these regions and the connections between them, significantly reducing and in many cases curing depressive symptoms.


Molecular Psychiatry (2005) 10, 239–250. doi:10.1038/ Published online 1 February 2005

Immune system molecules have been shown to regulate brain hormones, and also to induce mood alterations and behavioral changes characteristic of depression, in people diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. In other words, action of the immune system may actually be causing the depression. With this connection between depression and the immune system, glucocorticoids and thyroid hormones were found to be dysregulated. Rheumatoid arthritis was also studied, and found to be associated with this type of mood dysfunction.

Ota, K.T., Duman, R.S. Environmental and pharmacological modulations of cellular plasticity: Role in the pathophysiology and treatment of depression. Neurobiology of Disease. 57 (2013) 28–37.

Chronic stress has been shown to cause Major Depressive Disorder and to significantly destroy brain tissue - particularly in the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampal CA3 pyramidal neurons. Altered expression of neurotrophic factors is thought to be involved, particularly brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), VGF (nonacronym), and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1.

Anastasiya Slyepchenko, A. Maes, M., Jacka, F.N., et al. 2017. Gut microbiota, bacterial translocation, and interactions with diet: Pathophysiological links between major depressive disorder and non-communicable medical comorbidities. Psychother Psychosom 2017;86:31–46. DOI: 10.1159/000448957.

Diet and leaky gut strongly contributes to risk for Major Depressive Disorder. There is also a link between diet and inflammation, IBS, obesity, type II diabetes, leaky gut, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Prebiotics may be a treatment for depression.

Cooke, S.F., Bliss, T.V.P. 2006. Plasticity in the human central nervous system. Brain (2006), 129, 1659–1673. doi:10.1093/brain/awl082.

This describes the mechanism for plasticity, which is more substantial than long-term potentiation, and also has a different mechanism which involves the NMDA receptor. I’m thankful for this article, because it describes the science behind what I do, and little research is published regarding the NMDA receptor. Instead, usually the AMPA receptor is studied, because there is little pharmaceutical interest in NMDA. “These techniques have potential therapeutic application in manipulating neural plasticity to treat a variety of conditions, including depression, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and neuropathic pain.”

Bliss, T.V.P., Cooke, S.F. 2011. Long-term potentiation and long-term depression: A clinical perspective. Clinics. 2011;66(S1):3-17.

Neuroplasticity can be used to treat conditions such as neuropathic pain, epilepsy, depression, amblyopia, tinnitus and stroke. Specific mechanisms are discussed, used to create plasticity by activating the brain. The importance of calcium is discussed. The various signaling events and neurotransmitters needed for long-term potentiation (LTP) are described. Specific methods for activation and plasticity are discussed: LTP involves protein synthesis and transport to specific receptors. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), Event related potential, Interventional Paired Associative Stimulation, Direct Current Stimulation, Pharmaceutical Modulation, Photic and auditory tetanization, and Vagal nerve stimulation. The specific brain presentations and plasticities are described for these conditions: depression, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, epilepsy, stroke, chronic pain, amblyopia, and tinnitus. Brain inflammation leads to depression.

Speer, A.M.; Wassermann, E.M.; Benson, B.B. 2012. Antidepressant efficacy of high and low frequency rTMS at 110% of motor threshold versus sham stimulation over left prefrontal cortex. Brain Stimulation. Participants were diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, and were also resistant to treatment. In this double-blinded, randomized, sham-controlled study that included 3 weeks of treatment; improvements were documented well beyond the sham group. Additionally, more improvements were observed up to 4 weeks after the treatment was completed.

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