What Happens in Your Brain When You Are Depressed?

· October 8, 2014

The brain is a magnificent organ that we are still learning a lot of things about. For example, how certain emotions are defined by it, like in the case of depression. The truth is that there are many times that you are depressed or sad, and situations over the course of your life that make you face personal events that will test you.

Sadness is a basic human emotion, just like happiness, fear, or anger. Experiencing it means that your brain is acting differently and producing a series of effects at the same time that sometimes you are not conscious of. You may feel hungrier or more tired, try to search for solitude, or cry. You might be interested in knowing the purpose of all of these realities in your body and how you can face sadness in order to get out of this situation as soon as possible. As a result, you will prevent more serious illness that can seriously stop your life, like depression does for example.

When Your Brain Falls Into Depression


Sadness is one of the emotions that has the most impact on your metabolism. But what does that mean? It means that there are many changes that our body and mind undergo from external problems, whether they are losses, disappointments, or choices that people have to make sometimes. We will look at every one of these aspects that happens in your brain.

The Importance of Empathy

The brain has various defense mechanisms for handling sadness. It is the most recognizable emotion in humans. When you see someone, you immediately know if they are suffering from it or not. In other words, you will develop empathy for them. This dimension allows you to support people that are sad. Everyone knows how helpful it is to have friends or family members who support us. Also, empathy tends to be more developed in women.

Your Brain Needs More Energy: Glucose


When you are suffering from depression, your brain is incredibly active. It may seem strange, but scientific studies say that a depressed brain activates more than 70 different parts of the brain. Why? It is easy to understand. When you are depressed, you remember, think, suffer, and reason in search of solutions or new alternatives. You barely sleep because you are thinking over so many different things. The hippocampus is therefore active, which is the front part of the brain (prefrontal cortex) and also the anterior cingulate cortex, the temporal lobes, etc.

You also have to keep in mind that your brain uses almost 20% of your energy. But when you are depressed, it needs even more, with glucose being the main need. This causes you to feel more hungry, more anxiety to eat, and to seek sweet things, for example. Sometimes, it is the reason why you gain weight when you are sad or depressed.

The Essential Need to Cry

Crying is natural and necessary behavior that releases tension and emotions.
Crying is natural and necessary behavior that releases tension and emotions.

Periods of sadness mean the accumulation of a large amount of tension in your body. Although tears have a biological function of hydrating the eye on their own, you should differentiate them from emotional or crying tears, which are also basic for your health. The brain accumulates too much tension and needs to release this anxiety. Thus, tears are the best way to relieve this. Afterwards, endorphins are released that will make you feel better and more relaxed. We therefore recommend that you don’t suppress crying when you need to.

Avoid Bad Episodes and Live and Learn

Periods of sadness should serve for learning, taking a new path, and coming out stronger.
Periods of sadness should serve for learning, taking a new path, and coming out stronger.

A sad brain generates less serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with motivation. If you are unable to move on from a period of sadness by making new decisions and accepting what happened, this deficit in serotonin will cause you to suffer from sicknesses like depression, compulsive obsessive disorder and/or violent episodes. But you must be strong and find new resources to move on in these times of self-reflection.

One thing that depression does do for you is that it lets you live and learnEveryone knows that life is never easy, there are hurdles to jump, and new paths to take, which are realities that you should learn form. You will be stronger and more capable.