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A 33-year-old female asked:

Can depression and ptsd change your brain structure and cause neurological problems later in life? i am 33 and have been on meds & therapy for 5 yrs.

3 doctor answers11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 44 years experience
PTSD & depression: Yes, these conditions can change your brain. And the brain can change. The brain has neuroplasticity, such that forming new neural networks through meditation, psychotherapy, and other ways can aid healing from long-standing modes of seeing the world. More research is accumulating about this. Treatment of ptsd and depression may allow certain brain structures that are smaller, grow normally.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 27 years experience
Brain changes: Ptsd can cause significant changes in brain physiology. The amygdala (fight or flight) becomes over -active. The frontal cortex forgets to monitor the amygdala- so there is more impulsive behavior the hippocampus forgets to do it's job laying down new memories and retrieving old ones. Neurotransmitters are out of wack. Early and aggressive treatment is important for optimal outcomes in tx.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Jeffrey Unger
A Verified Doctoranswered
43 years experience
Yes: Chronic depression can result in loss of brain volume making mental illness more treatment resistant.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Nov 28, 2017

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