Do we need more evidence that depression is a brain disease?
Let’s examine rumination, which is a both a major risk factor for depression, and an activity strongly associated with depression.
Rumination is like a record that’s stuck so it keeps repeating the same part of the song over and over. It’s an endless internal argument. It’s the endless retracing of past mistakes or injuries or injustices.
A person who ruminates focuses their attention on real, or hypothetical, or imaginary, or fantastic possible causes of their distress. They ruminate instead of seeking solutions! They conjure up more and more negative thoughts as the cycle of rumination continues.
The cycle of rumination leads to more and more negative memories from the past, and to the negative interpretation of current events, and to a more hopeless view of the future.
Rumination paralyzes problem solving abilities, and is the short cut to feeling helpless. It’s a vicious cycle of negative thinking, and it pushes away family and friends.
Rumination is excessively abstract, and insufficiently concrete.
How To Reduce Rumination
Any first step in the right direction is a step away from the hopeless, helpless cycle of negative thinking, and rumination. We encourage any efforts in this direction, and we also recognize that depression can impose serious stumbling blocks which get in the way of all sorts of helpful activities.
Reducing rumination sounds simple, but it’s not at all easy for depressed people to move beyond feeling stuck. Depression often means feeling stuck and being stuck – mired in cycles of feeling hopeless, helpless, and worthless – and ruminating about it.
What’s The Cause of Rumination?
Is rumination simply a bad habit?
Evidence is emerging that rumination has a physical basis. Maybe it’s more than just a bad habit.
Recent research shows brain scans of previously depressed young adults showed hyper-connected emotional and cognitive networks, especially in the regions of the brain related to rumination. This means certain regions of the brain are excessively connected, which is a glimpse into why these areas of the brain are talking to each other too much.
The hyper-connected emotional and cognitive networks related to rumination may play a role in making rumination a major risk factor for depression. Knowledge about these hyper-connections is another little piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding exactly what is happening in the brain disease we call depression.
The unexamined life is not worth living, but too much self-reflection may be a big-time negative. There’s no question that rumination is a major risk factor for depression.
Problem solving is a better way to go.
Of course, some problems don’t seem to have solutions. Many can be solved only with professional help. Effective treatments such as transcranial magnetic stimulation are helping solve the worldwide problem of depression, Augusta, Georgia, included, but too many people don’t yet know that depression is a treatable brain disease.
As our abilities to examine the brain improve so will our understanding of depression. Our efforts to improve and strengthen the health of diseased brains will become more fruitful, too.
Our goal is to stamp out depression worldwide beginning in our own backyard. We intend to spread the word about risk factors, signs and symptoms, and effective therapies for depression’s victims. You can help by sharing information.