Shared by Nature on August 30, 2022, Nature Outlook: Depression is an editorially independent supplement produced with the financial support of Sage Therapeutics and Biogen.
Biological factors that might contribute to clinical depression are coming into light. One increasingly supported theory is that depression is linked to a slowing of nerve growth — so measures that encourage neuron formation could help to stave off the condition. Obesity is both a cause and a consequence of depression, creating a vicious cycle. And the disruptions of ancient sleep patterns by electric lighting, smartphones and modern conveniences wreak havoc on mental health. Researchers around the world are finding links between depression and COVID-19, heart health, exercise and the use of social media.
Depression rates are rising fastest in young people. The condition is also disproportionately experienced by women, because the ebb and flow of hormones during menstruation, during pregnancy, after childbirth and during menopause can trigger biochemical cascades that result in the condition. These hormonal effects are very common around the time of menopause — yet the link is still ignored by many health-care professionals.
Antidepressant drugs are commonly prescribed as a treatment, but none is universally helpful. Other types of therapy are beginning to enter the scene, from psychedelic compounds such as psilocybin to implanted devices that zap the brain with pulses of electricity.
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