Frequently Asked Questions About Depression Brain Scan

I knew for a long time that I have depression. The warning signs are there, and it is not something I can easily ignore. The constant sadness and emptiness, even when there are people around, it makes me nuts. I also feel like even if I am at my best, I still long for emotional attention. I question myself a lot about how I can deal with my situation and fight these negative thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, I don’t get quite the right answers I want. Usually, I end up asking for more.

It is funny that fairly a few people I know often tell me that they understand what I am going through. But are they really? Honestly, it is hard to tell if they feel what I feel because it does not show most of the time. In some instances, their words backfire at them because they can’t even tell me what it feels like to be depressed. They always say it is all about sadness and isolation and stuff like that, but general information. I already knew that. I need to hear from them how much they truly understand this damn mental illness’s emotional agony.


Looking through the possible solutions, I know many coping strategies can help me fight this depression. But I still don’t get why I have to do that when some therapies and medications are supposed to do the work. Perhaps depression is not entirely exclusive to emotional reasons. By that, I somehow believe that the details of this mental health condition lie within the process of brain function. Thus, here are reasonably a few frequently asked questions I used as a guideline to understand more about mental illness.

Can you get a brain scan for depression?

Yes. You can benefit from an MRI scan as it can pick up brain abnormalities in people with depression. MRI scans can detect a biomarker involving the blood-brain barrier in people with mental health issues. However, an MRI or any brain scan alone cannot fully diagnose a mental disorder such as schizophrenia, autism, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. But in some cases, a brain scan can help rule out other medical illnesses, including brain tumors, which could cause similar symptoms to a mental disorder.

 Can a brain MRI show depression?

MRI or magnetic resonance imaging scans can potentially detect physical and functional changes in the brain that could be valid indicators of psychological health issues. It can show common structural abnormalities with mental health conditions, particularly anxiety and depression. But its function is not limited to that as it can detect a variety of problems in the brain such as tumors, cysts, swelling, bleeding, inflammatory conditions, infections, developmental and structural abnormalities, or problems with the blood vessels.

 Can a brain scan detect mental illness?

Unfortunately, brain scans alone are not an entirely reliable source of mental health diagnosis. Some conditions such as anxiety, autism, depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia tend to show the same brain abnormality structure, making it quite challenging for a brain scan to pinpoint. But on the good side, a brain scan can be an asset to rule out other medical illnesses like a tumor.

 Does mental illness disappear?

There is a possibility that you will endure multiple mental health complications illnesses over time in your life. It can happen one at a time or all at once. Unfortunately, it is hard to predict mental illness experience because every situation and triggering factors are different. Nonetheless, if the symptoms are severe and debilitating, it is not likely to go away independently. And if it does, it will likely come back as soon as you expected. Thus, it is important to pay attention to the warning signs of your mental health issue. Talk with your doctor or consult a medical professional and seek help.

 How does the brain affect depression?

The body discharges an ample amount of cortisol during times of physical and mental stress. With depression, this particular cortisol burst tends to double up, which causes a chemical imbalance in the body. This particular change in the levels of neurotransmitters leads to symptoms that can sometimes become serious health issues. These include having extreme feelings of sadness, emptiness, worthlessness, or helplessness. Over time, it leads to overeating or loss of appetite, insomnia, or other sleeping problems.

 What is the most treatable mental illness?

Most experts consider anxiety disorder as the most treatable mental illness. Anxiety disorder produces excessive worry, unrealistic fears, and changes in sleep patterns. It can also cause flashbacks from past trauma leading to easy startling, intense tension, and ritualistic behavior. Though there is no definite cure for mental illness, health experts and doctors often suggest many effective treatments to help individuals recover and live long and healthy lives.


 What part of the brain is affected by depression?

The brain affected by depression is the main subcortical limbic region known as the amygdala, hippocampus, and dorsomedial thalamus. These are the areas that often show abnormalities in the brain’s actual structure. But with the three regions, the amygdala gets to suffer from an enlargement. This particular enlargement results in disturbances in sleep and activity patterns and causes the body to release varying amounts of hormones. The imbalance of other chemicals in the body then leads to further health complications.

 What does a depressed person’s brain look like?

Though specific signs of depression are often not visible in a brain scan, experts believe that a depressed person’s brain often shows to obtain thicker grey matter in parts of the brain involved in emotions and self-perception.

 Can the brain repair itself after depression?

Depression impacts a person’s life and brings serious consequences on his overall health. Sometimes, some conditions show no sign of hope as the brain continuously struggles with the damage that eventually manifests in the emotional and physical aspects. But fortunately, there are instances that the brain forces itself to heal. That brain recovery usually starts with treatment with antidepressants and electroshocks, which contribute to the development of new nerve cells that got shrunken.

 Does your brain age faster when depressed?

Fortunately, yes. The brain physically ages faster when an individual is suffering from depression. These specific and drastic brain changes can hasten an aging effect that might make the person more susceptible to health complications associated with old age. These include short-term memory loss, dementia, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s.

 Can depression give you memory loss?

Yes. Psychological problems, including stress, anxiety, and depression, can cause confusion, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating. These problems eventually disrupt daily activities making an individual struggle with focus and concentration, make decisions, think clearly and analytically, work, or complete other personal tasks.

 Can the brain heal itself from mental illness?

Fortunately, the brain’s one strength is its ability to heal itself after a damaging mental health experience. It is known as neuroplasticity. It is considered one of the notable developments in the brain’s modern science. Although some people turn out to be disabled individuals because of a chronic or severe mental illness, many others are still fortunate to live full and productive lives.



If there is one thing I would rather not do, that is to assume that I can easily get rid of this mental state. My depression is taking away my life, and I am watching it do it gradually. But please do not judge me. It is not like I don’t want to get better, nor I ever want to get out of this situation. It is just that I find myself mentally and emotionally unstable. That even if I try working on different coping skills, my depression still comes back and haunts me. And even if I train myself always to stay positive, surround myself with loving people, and focus on self-care, it is useless. I cannot seem to win this mental health battle.