NPR - Brain Scientists Uncover New Links Between Stress And Depression

 – October 15, 2012  –– 

Even extreme stress doesn't have to get you down. That's the message from brain scientists studying the relationship between stress and problems such as depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Researchers at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans presented studies showing how stress caused by everything from battlefield trauma to bullying can alter brain circuitry in ways that have long-term effects on mental health. Current treatments for these problems often come up short. But the scientists say new insights about how stress affects the brain suggest several ways the process could be interrupted or reversed. "That's the holy grail and we're moving in that direction," says Dr. Dipesh Chaudhury of Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Chaudhury says one way traumatic events appear to cause depression is by inhibiting the brain's so-called reward system, which normally causes pleasurable feelings when we spend time with friends or eat a favorite food. Soldiers with PTSD and people with major depression often report that these things no longer give them pleasure.
- Dr. Dipesh Chaudhury, Associate Scientist, Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
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