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Recent research on depression has led to a number of findings about possible causes, risk factors, and treatments, as well as possible triggers of the illness. Some areas that have produced important findings include brain imaging research, genetics research, studies of brain chemistry, and studies of abused women. If you are interested in participating in such studies, your healthcare provider can tell you about research studies that may benefit you.
An Overview of Research on Depression
Doctors and scientists worldwide are conducting depression research studies. These studies are designed to answer important questions and to find out whether new approaches to depression treatment are safe and effective. Such research has already led to many advances, and researchers continue to search for more effective methods of dealing with depression.
Recent Research FindingsThe following are some findings from recently completed research studies on depression:
- Brain imaging studies are revealing that in people with depression, the neural circuits responsible for moods, thinking, sleep, appetite, and behavior fail to function properly and that the regulation of critical neurotransmitters is impaired.
- Genetics research, including studies of twins, indicates that genes play a role in depression. Vulnerability to depression appears to result from the influence of multiple genes acting along with environmental factors.
- Other depression research has shown that stressful life events, particularly in the form of loss such as the death of a close family member, may trigger major depression in susceptible individuals.
Studies of brain chemistry, how antidepressants work, and the distorted thinking and relationship problems linked to depression continue to help researchers develop new and better treatments.
- Studies of abused women have shown that abuse may lead to depression by fostering low self-esteem, a sense of helplessness, self-blame, and social isolation. There may be biological and environmental risk factors for depression resulting from growing up in a dysfunctional family.