Early Life Adversity Can Cause Major Depressive Disorder In Later Life

Depression may have gained more attention in recent years, but scientists have always acknowledged it. Previously, the psychological condition was known as melancholia. Depression, unlike grief, is signified by a loss of interest in everything that was considered enjoyable by a person before. It is a serious mood disorder that has some forms.

Persistent depressive disorder, postpartum depression, psychotic depression, seasonal affective disorder, and bipolar disorder are all forms of the ailment. Depression is believed to be caused because of stress, trauma, family history of the condition, medications or physical illness. Illnesses like heart disease, kidney disease, AIDS, lupus, etc. can cause depression.

A new study shows that people who have went through adversity in their early years are more likely to become depressed as they grow older. This research has been conducted on rodents and may be helpful in developing better treatment for the condition.

What Does This Study Reveal?

A new study by researchers at the University of Bristol has found that going through adversity in the early stages of life can lead to major depressive disorder later in life. This research has been published in the Neuropsychopharmacology journal. It was conducted on a rodent model. It was noted that offspring are more sensitive to negativity when they get corticosterone, the stress hormone.

The study showed that normal rats were not effected by the hormone but those who have been through negative happenings in early life were. It was also found that adversity in the early life of rats made them less likely to expect positivity and understand reward value. The inability to understand reward value is linked directly to depression as the condition is characterized by a loss of interest in things that one previously enjoyed.

This study can help find better treatment plans for the psychological ailment through this link between biological and psychological processes. Lead author of the reports, Emma Robinson said, “Our larger body of work suggests that the effectiveness of current antidepressant treatments might be linked to how much a person is able to re-engage with their environment and their level of social support.”

While this study finds that negative memories of the past lead to the development of depression, previously it was not known whether depression caused one to have a negative view of the world or if it was the other way around. Now more research is needed to explore better treatment options. Researchers are already armed with knowledge about how ketamine can work as an antidepressant and are looking to study this further.

Key Takeaway

Depression is not just sadness but also a lack of interest in everything previously considered enjoyable by a person. There are many types of depression from postpartum to winter depression. The mood disorder is a serious one which can also be life-threatening because people are likely to consider committing suicide because of it.

Therefore, treatment in the form of therapy and drugs must be sought immediately. A new research which has been carried out on rodents has found that people who have been through adversity are more likely to develop major depressive disorder.