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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Effects of Depression on Central Nervous System

06/27/2003

Question:

What are the effects of depression and chemical imbalances in the brain on the central nervous system?

Answer:

Most of the symptoms of depression are due to the chemical imbalances (especially of serotonin and norepinephrine) in the brain, and the brain is part of the central nervous system. Depending on the person, symptoms include the following: sleep disturbances (either sleep too much or can`t sleep well at all) appetite disturbances (either no appetite or want to eat too much) loss of libido or sex drive difficulty concentrating loss of pleasure in activities that used to be pleasurable tearfulness sadness energy disturbances (either agitated and anxious or low energy. There is also some new evidence that depression, through the CNS, may affect the heart. People who are depressed seem to have more heart disease, and do worse with their heart disease than people who are not depressed, but more studies are needed to better understand this connection.

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Response by:

Nancy   Elder, MD Nancy Elder, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati