Many illnesses have a harmful effect on our bodies if left untreated, and mental illness is no different since we are dealing with a physical illness. This study concluded that depression left untreated might reduce the size of the part of the brain known as the hippocampal as well as weakening the sheathing surrounding the neurons. The study concluded that some of the SSRI's and other anti-depressants might aid in protecting the sheathing around the nerves as well as protecting the hippocampal. The loss of this sheathing has been attributed to several diseases associated with memory loss, aging, and Alzheimer's disease. Following is an excerpt from the study about untreated depression and hippocampal volume loss:
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of antidepressant treatment on hippocampal volumes in patients with major depression. METHOD: For 38 female out-patients, the total time each had been in a depressive episode was divided into days during which the patient was receiving antidepressant medication and days during which no antidepressant treatment was received. Hippocampal gray matter volumes were determined by high resolution magnetic resonance imaging and unbiased stereological measurement. RESULTS: Longer durations during which depressive episodes went untreated with antidepressant medication were associated with reductions in hippocampal volume. There was no significant relationship between hippocampal volume loss and time depressed while taking antidepressant medication or with lifetime exposure to antidepressants. CONCLUSIONS: Antidepressantsmay have a neuroprotective effect during depression. Read the complete study regarding Depression and Hippocampal Volume Loss.
This article is not to be used to make any medical decisions or treatments and is strictly informational