Is Depression A Human Invention?

 

This article was first published in Technorati.

New information has emerged from a study conducted in China illuminating the relationship between depression and the hate circuit of the brain according to an October 6, 2011 article in Medical News Today. Professor Jianfeng Feng from the University of Warwick in the UK, in collaboration with six other scientists, led the study which shows that depression causes an uncoupling of the hate circuit in the human brain.

The hate circuit was discovered in in 2008 in a study by UCL Professor Semir Zeki. He found that three regions of the brain were activated when individuals were shown images of people they hated. The three regions are located in the cortex and subcortex of the brain and are the superior frontal gyrus, insula and putamen. As a result of his study, these regions have come to be identified as the hate circuit.

Professor Feng’s study was an exploration of brain activity differences in 39 depressed patients and 37 non-depressed individuals. The¬†depressed group¬†included participants who were both first episode major depressive disorder (FEMDD) and resistant major depressive disorder (RMDD).

The scientists created a template of the neural connections in 90 different brain regions from the healthy participants and identified 6 different functional systems of the brain that became the basis of their exploration of the depressed patients.
The greatest difference they found was the uncoupling of the hate circuit although major changes occurred in circuits related to risk and action responses, reward and emotion, attention and memory processing. The neural differences are called uncoupling to describe the disconnection in normal brain functioning which occurred over 80% of the time or more in the depressed patients.

The published report of the scientists is uncertain about the meaning of their findings although they make the observation: “Depressed patients … have problems in controlling negative thoughts and so a potential hypothesis is that the functional uncoupling in this circuit may be contributing to impaired cognitive control over pervasive internal feelings of self-loathing or hatred towards others and/or external circumstances.”

It is not clear from the study whether or not there was a genetic basis for the depression in the study participants. However, since much of our behavior is adaptive, depression may be as well. This study may show that in very negative situations, some people chose depression as a coping mechanism and that the depressive coping mechanism may actually change brain function.

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Comments

  1. John Burge says

    Hi I am a long term sufferer of depression speciall now since I have retired.
    It is a terrible feeling that I would love to get rid of.naturally if that is possible.
    I have just lost two of my best mates recently which does not help, So iam turning to the enternet for some help.

    • Maria says

      Thank you for stopping by. I am sorry to hear about how you lost two special friends. That is always difficult, and my first suggestion to you is to honor your feelings about your friends and consider handling it differently that your longer term depression.

      Your feelings for your friends is actually a good thing in a way because they say that you are capable of love and that is wonderful. They also tell me that you are honoring your friends which is appropriate. I would suggest that you take some time each day to be with your feelings about them.

      Journaling is a great way to respect and process feeling of grief. When you write in a notebook – any notebook will do – you are respecting your feelings and also providing yourself with a release since you are transferring them from you into the notebook. It is a process that repeats feelings and releases them at the same time.

      Another suggestion would be to create a memorial to your friends. It can be something very simple in your home to something more public; whatever suits your situation. That can help you to feel that you are doing something to honor your friends and help you heal.

      As far as your longer term depression is concerned, many people have long term depression if they grew up in stressful circumstances. There are a number of things that I have found to be helpful: meditation is an excellent practice for letting go. Another is reiki because it brings healing energy into the body. I have used it and it feels wonderful. I would suggest that you watch diet since sugar, sodas, alcohol and processed foods of all kinds which can cause your moods to worsen. A holistic healer in your area would be a useful step for you.

      If there are any support groups for handling grief or depression in your area, you might want to consider them.

      Basically you need a healing lifestyle and any of the practices I have suggested will help you. It will also help you while you are working on your healing to consider a purpose for yourself. Being retired can be great but it is better if you find a use for your time that makes you feel good about yourself. Everyone has value and that does not stop with retirement.

      I suggest that you visit the following blog for more information and experiences from others in your situation: http://www.storiedmind.com/.

      Please let me know how you are doing. I will be thinking about you and wishing you well.

      All the best,
      Maria

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