Interruptions in internal clock rhythm may cause anxiety and depression, says study
March 20th, 2017
Filed under: Anxiety, depression, treatment by Rachael

The causes of depression and anxiety can be many – from psychological to genetic. Depression can be mild,moderate or serious. Considering the fact that people suffering from severe depression, also called major depressive disorder (MDD), are unable to lead a normal life, it is important that researchers find out about potential reasons behind the mental disorder.

Patients exhibiting symptoms of MDD often have disturbed circadian rhythms or internal clocks that are just not ticking the right way. To examine the causal association between mood disorders and disturbance in the circadian rhythms, a group of scientists from the University of Californiarecently conducted a research titled “Genetic Disruption of Circadian Rhythms in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Causes Helplessness, Behavioral Despair, and Anxiety-like Behavior in Mice.”Some prior researches carried out on animal models had usedlight/dark manipulations and global modifications of clock genes, but it had failed to show how circadian clocks played a role in regulating moods.

The study,published online in the journal Biological Psychiatry in 2016,suggested that circadian rhythm disturbances were responsible for depression and anxiety and tuning up the internal clock might help in the treatment of mental health problems.

Depression results from circadian rhythm disturbances

The scientists subdued the effect of mice genes in the brain responsible for regulation of their circadian rhythm. They noticed that the mice found it difficult to escape from a situation deemed intolerable and painful which are symptoms of hopelessness arising from depression. The mice also gained more weight compared to those in the controlled group despite having consumed in the same proportions. In addition, the affected mice spent less time in bright light, considered a veritable symptom of anxiety and did not move for a considerable period when hung by their tails.

Elucidating on the findings of the study, first author Dominic Landgraf of the University of California, San Diego, said, “Our data show that perturbing circadian rhythms in otherwise totally undisturbed animals is enough to cause behaviors similar to human depression. It is perhaps not surprising that disruptions of our natural synchronization can have heavy impacts on our physical and mental health.”

Tuning internal clock may help treat depression

The observations reinforced the belief that the internal clock has a lot to do with the mental health of a person. According to experts,certain conditions are closely linked to the rhythm of day and nightThough the circadian rhythm is internally regulated, it can be influenced by environmental factors as well. The scientists of the study suggested that a better understanding of the circadian rhythm could help find treatments for depression and anxiety in the long run.

Living with depression or associated anxiety disorder is a big burden, but it is possible to treat these mental problems. Anxiety disordersareone of the most common mental disorders affecting nearly 40 million American adults, aged 18 years and above, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). However, not all of them are able to avail the necessary treatmentand this point might add to the existing problem.

If you or your loved one is afflicted with anxiety disorder, contact the Anxiety Treatment Advisors of Colorado to learn about anxiety treatment centers in Colorado. A timely treatment is importantas it can help one lead a normal and happy life. An anxiety can be treated with medication or psychotherapy like cognitive behavioral therapy.One should not delay the intervention to avoid any untoward situation. Call at our 24/7 anxiety helpline number 866-891-2539or chat onlinetoknow about one of the best anxiety treatment advisors in Colorado.

Suffering from anxiety?

Request help today

A treatment expert will get back to you shortly