Research shows it may be just as popular with older adults.

With rates climbing, there is a global rush to provide resources for patients, while fast-tracking research to understand the mental illness.

Now, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have identified a gene in mice and humans that can either intensify anxiety or protect someone from stress, depending on the levels.

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'There are multiple areas of the brain affected in depression,' Dr Lobo said to Daily Mail Online.'This study shows we really need to go in there and look at each area differently. 'The brain is very heterogeneous, we need to home in on vulnerable neurons and find ways to treat them.'Hopefully this study will help us come up with pharmacological agents that might change the levels of this gene to treat people with depression.' The study focused on a gene called Slc6a15.

Dr Lobo first noticed the gene during her Ph D in 2006, and saw that it was more common among certain neurons in the brain's 'reward circuit', which releases a rush of dopamine during sex, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or eating good food.

Gender - More women experience depression than men.[3] While the reasons for this are still unclear, they may include the hormonal changes women go through during menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause.

Other reasons may include the stress caused by the multiple responsibilities that women have.

They found both had decreased levels of a certain gene in their reward center, known as the 'nucleus accumbens' (pictured)The study builds on previous research that showed a link between this gene and depression in the hippocampus - the brain region which controls emotion and memory, and is the main focus of depression research.