June 15, 2024

Depression in Teens: Does it Shrink Their Brains?

Today’s Guest Post comes from Denny Dew, the author of Depression Teens Help.  In it he offers an interesting and controversial alternative look at teenage depression.


New research into depression is of interest for depression in teens too.

 A messenger called GATA1

A research team at Yale University has discovered that depressed people have a few genes that happen to show troubled activity.

These genes ought to regulate brain synapses.  In depressed people, it so happens that these genes can’t do their job properly because of a malfunctioning factor.

This factor is precisely a transcription factor.  It’s a protein that acts like a messenger.  It transmits the orders of the genes to our internal protein factory.

In our case, a messenger called GATA1 fails to transmit properly the orders of five genes which are responsible for regulating brain synapses.

Actually, GATA1 works inversely.  If it’s too active it will depress the information flow from these five genes to the protein factory.  If it’s insufficiently active it may cause excessive synaptic activity.

depressed teenager

Why would depressed brains be shrinking?

In depressed brains GATA1 seems to be too active.  Less synaptic connections are formed, and this results in a loss of brain mass.  Depression, in teens, is shrinking their brains.

Is this GATA1 a cause of depression?  If you are born with a malfunctioning GATA1, are you destined to be depressed?

There is no scientific finding that links depression to genetics.  Professor Steve Jones of London University, a renowned geneticist, points out that we don’t understand much about the genetics of simpler things like eye colour or ear shape.  To talk about the genetics of depression is nonsense.

There has been much research into genetics and mental disorders.  You can read the book ‘The Gene Illusion’ by Jay Joseph.  There you can learn about this research and about how much of it was unscientific and self-serving.

Unfortunately, there are still people who want to use science for destructive purposes.  The insane idea of eugenics was based on this kind of research, among other things.

So, what is GATA1 about?  It’s about the effects of depression and how it’s possible to alleviate them using drugs.  It isn’t about fixing causes.

The very usage of drugs to treat depression is depressive

Drugs are life-saving when a depressed teenager shows significant symptoms of depression.  They should be used only when there is a real risk of suicide.

In any other case, the use of drugs to treat psychological problems is more of a problem than a solution.

Drugs seem to be good at helping you regain your productivity in a very short time.

If you are productive again, our profoundly sick society is satisfied, and you are required to be satisfied too.  Or, at least, to fake it.

The real causes of your depression don’t matter.  The society we have created, and that we obey, doesn’t care about our depression as long as it can get rid of its effects by pushing some drugs down our throats.

The mountain and the molehill

Who cares about the molehill when there is a mountain out there to deal with?  Only those who don’t see the mountain, of course.

They belong to two categories: those who deny seeing the mountain, and those who really don’t see it.

The mountain is the depressive nature of our civilization.  I mean Western civilization.  Mahatma Gandhi used to say that, actually, there isn’t such a thing.

Drugs and genetics as alibi

Drugs and genetics studies risk being used as alibis for not facing the real problem of the profound sickness of our Western culture.

What to say to our depressed teenagers?  That they have to change society in order for them to be happy?

No, this isn’t needed.  As already suggested by Erich Fromm, we have only to disobey society, refusing to take for granted its claimed sanity.

How can it have happened?

How can it have happened that human beings, who have the power of knowing themselves, turn to science, and genetics in particular, to be told who they are?

Human beings discovered their power of knowing themselves thousands of years ago.

I don’t know how this has happened.  I know that it’s difficult for anyone to know themselves if, at the same time, they are coercively moulded to be something different.

Depressed teenagers would like to be allowed to know themselves and to see themselves accepted for who they are.  Instead, they have to endure the shock of being forced to become something that they aren’t.

Many will simply forget about being themselves and will become one more instance of the self-less cog which is intended to be slotted into the production-and-consumption machine.

Others will get depressed.  They unconsciously say to themselves: “Why should I become a cog?  I’m not a cog!”

At the same time they see that nobody around them wants to care about their question.  How depressing!

Next time we know of a depressed teenager, let’s listen.  Being still relatively unconditioned, they see something we don’t.

And next time we see teenagers on their way to becoming well-adjusted members of society, let’s not rejoice at it.  Let’s say instead: “Sorry for that!”

If society is sick it’s not our fault, and to search for someone to blame is a waste of time.

Depressed teenagers only want to have acknowledged the right to see their true selves respected.  Shall we try and do this?

Denny Dew is the author of the website Depression Teens Help.  Visit it to learn more about depression in teenagers and its symptoms, causes and treatments.  


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