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Stress Shrinks the Brain and Lowers Our Ability to Cope with Adversity


Lilu
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Finally an explanation for mental disorders, that does NOT involve the words "chemical imbalance".

 

http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/09/study-stress-shrinks-the-brain-and-lowers-our-ability-to-cope-with-adversity/

 

Study: Stress Shrinks the Brain and Lowers Our Ability to Cope with Adversity


Stress is an integral part of all of our lives, so much so, in fact, that we tend to shrug off our racing pulses and insomnia and constant angst as nothing unusual. But researchers say that even everyday stress can be leading to changes in the brain that make us more vulnerable to mental as well as social disorders ranging from depression to addiction and behavioral conditions.

 

Dr. Rajita Sinha, a professor of psychiatry and neurobiology at Yale University School of Medicine and director of the Yale Stress Center, reports in the journal Biological Psychiatry that even among healthy individuals, adverse life events that cause stress can lead to shrinkage in parts of the brain responsible for regulating emotions and metabolism. In addition, she and her team found that it’s not individual traumatic events that have the most impact, but the cumulative effect of a lifetime’s worth of stress that might cause the most dramatic changes in brain volume.

 

Sinha imaged the brains of 100 healthy participants who had provided information on traumatic and stressful events in their lives, including divorce, death of a loved one, loss of a home or loss of a job. Even very recently affect subjects showed smaller grey matter in their brains in the prefrontal cortex, a region that is responsible for self-control, emotions and physiological functions such as maintaining proper glucose and insulin levels.

 

“The key take home message is that across the board the area that is most vulnerable to stress of any kind is the prefrontal cortex,” says Sinha. “It’s important for top-down regulation of our emotions, cognition, desires, and impulse control.” As nerve tissue in this region disappears due to constant battering from repeated stressful events, our ability to counteract potentially dangerous desires, such as for addictive substances, or control our impulsive behaviors to do dangerous things, may wane. “The prefrontal cortex is important for metabolic homeostasis and for our survival and adaptation to life’s challenges,” says Sinha.

 

Interestingly, by analyzing the brain scans, Sinha and her team were also able to distinguish how different types of stress affect different regions of the brain. Recent life events, such as a traumatic accident, a job loss or a difficult medical diagnosis seem to predominantly affect our emotional awareness. As this part of the brain shrinks, we may start to lose touch with our emotions, and act in inappropriate or even unfeeling ways to both situations as well as in our interactions with other people.

Life traumas, such as living with a chronic condition such as cancer or losing a loved one, seems to affect our mood centers most acutely, skewing our ability to regulate pleasure and reward. Smaller brain volumes in these centers have been linked to depression and other mood disorders such as anxiety.

 

Finally, chronic stress, the kind that we seem to all live with day in and day out — making deadlines at work, and juggling work and family life — doesn’t seem to affect brain volumes on its own. ...

Edited by Altostrata
edited to conform to fair use

2005-2008: Effexor; 1/2008 Tapered 3 months, then quit. 7/2008-2009 Reinstated Effexor (crying spells at start of new job.)
2009-3/2013: Switched to Pristiq 50 mg then 100 mg
3/2013: Switched to Lexapro 10mg. Cut down to 5 mg. CT for 2 weeks then reinstated for 6 weeks
8/2013-8/2014: Tapering Lexapro (Lots of withdrawal symptoms)
11/2014 -8/2015: Developed severe insomnia and uncontrollable daily crying spells
12/2014-6/2015: Tried Ambien, Klonopin, Ativan, Lunesta, Sonata, Trazadone, Seroquel, Rameron, Gabapentin - Developed Anxiety disorder, PTSD, and Psychogenic Myoclonus
7/2015-1/2016: Reinstated Lexapro 2 mg (mild improvement, but crying spells still present)

1/2016-5/2017: Lexapro 5 mg ( helped a lot, but poor stress tolerance & depressive episodes)

5/20/2017 - Raised dose to Lexapro 10 mg due to lingering depression(Total of 2 failed tapers & severe PAWS)

9/11/2018 - Present: Still on 10 mg Lexapro and mostly recovered.(Anxiety still triggers Myoclonus.)

10/7/2022 - 20 mg Lexapro (brand only) Plus occasional Klonopin for anxiety and Ambien for insomnia.

 

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Red flags:

 

- Biological psychiatry

- Conclusions based on brain scans

- Lack of information about functional effect of so-called shrunken brain areas

- Other factors, such as aging and dehydration, can affect brain volume

 

Lilu, how many people live without stress, do you think?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Red flags:

 

- Biological psychiatry

- Conclusions based on brain scans

- Lack of information about functional effect of so-called shrunken brain areas

- Other factors, such as aging and dehydration, can affect brain volume

 

Lilu, how many people live without stress, do you think?

functional effect? - what do you mean?

 

And sure, everyone has stress, but I think the researchers are looking at people who have experienced severe multiple, and/or chronic stressful events and it's effects.  Not just your regular every day stress.

2005-2008: Effexor; 1/2008 Tapered 3 months, then quit. 7/2008-2009 Reinstated Effexor (crying spells at start of new job.)
2009-3/2013: Switched to Pristiq 50 mg then 100 mg
3/2013: Switched to Lexapro 10mg. Cut down to 5 mg. CT for 2 weeks then reinstated for 6 weeks
8/2013-8/2014: Tapering Lexapro (Lots of withdrawal symptoms)
11/2014 -8/2015: Developed severe insomnia and uncontrollable daily crying spells
12/2014-6/2015: Tried Ambien, Klonopin, Ativan, Lunesta, Sonata, Trazadone, Seroquel, Rameron, Gabapentin - Developed Anxiety disorder, PTSD, and Psychogenic Myoclonus
7/2015-1/2016: Reinstated Lexapro 2 mg (mild improvement, but crying spells still present)

1/2016-5/2017: Lexapro 5 mg ( helped a lot, but poor stress tolerance & depressive episodes)

5/20/2017 - Raised dose to Lexapro 10 mg due to lingering depression(Total of 2 failed tapers & severe PAWS)

9/11/2018 - Present: Still on 10 mg Lexapro and mostly recovered.(Anxiety still triggers Myoclonus.)

10/7/2022 - 20 mg Lexapro (brand only) Plus occasional Klonopin for anxiety and Ambien for insomnia.

 

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How do you know, Lilu? Did you read the research paper?

 

"Functional" means you can have some kind of symptom, but it may not affect functioning in any meaningful way. There are many variations in the human body, few of them are pathological.

 

See What will get you warned or banned

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1598-what-will-get-you-warned-or-banned/

 

Red flags for nonsense often found in pop psychiatry:

  • Reliance on the "chemical imbalance" theory or that mental disorders are due to some kind of neurotransmitter deficiency.
  • Reliance on neuroimaging or brain scans.
  • Assigning specific functions to specific neurotransmitters ("dopamine is responsible for pleasure"). All neurotransmitters are multifunction; normal functioning depends on their all operating together.
  • More to come, I'm sure.

No more of this, please.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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How do you know, Lilu? Did you read the research paper?

 

"Functional" means you can have some kind of symptom, but it may not affect functioning in any meaningful way. There are many variations in the human body, few of them are pathological.

 

See What will get you warned or banned

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1598-what-will-get-you-warned-or-banned/

 

Red flags for nonsense often found in pop psychiatry:

  • Reliance on the "chemical imbalance" theory or that mental disorders are due to some kind of neurotransmitter deficiency.
  • Reliance on neuroimaging or brain scans.
  • Assigning specific functions to specific neurotransmitters ("dopamine is responsible for pleasure"). All neurotransmitters are multifunction; normal functioning depends on their all operating together.
  • More to come, I'm sure.

No more of this, please.

 

I read the article, and yes I remember reading that they were looking at various types of stress, multiple stressful and/or traumatic events as well as chronic stress.

 

I didn't know that brain imaging scans are not reliable or scientific in your view or mentioned in "what will get you banned."   I haven't read anything about them being invalid or what not.

 

Also, from all the stuff I've read over the last 9 years, I thought that it was scientific fact that certain neurotransmitters are attributed to certain emotional processes. Such as dopamine being responsible for motivation and serotonin for calmness, etc.

 

I don't mean to upset you Alto, I thought I was sharing valuable info with y'all.

2005-2008: Effexor; 1/2008 Tapered 3 months, then quit. 7/2008-2009 Reinstated Effexor (crying spells at start of new job.)
2009-3/2013: Switched to Pristiq 50 mg then 100 mg
3/2013: Switched to Lexapro 10mg. Cut down to 5 mg. CT for 2 weeks then reinstated for 6 weeks
8/2013-8/2014: Tapering Lexapro (Lots of withdrawal symptoms)
11/2014 -8/2015: Developed severe insomnia and uncontrollable daily crying spells
12/2014-6/2015: Tried Ambien, Klonopin, Ativan, Lunesta, Sonata, Trazadone, Seroquel, Rameron, Gabapentin - Developed Anxiety disorder, PTSD, and Psychogenic Myoclonus
7/2015-1/2016: Reinstated Lexapro 2 mg (mild improvement, but crying spells still present)

1/2016-5/2017: Lexapro 5 mg ( helped a lot, but poor stress tolerance & depressive episodes)

5/20/2017 - Raised dose to Lexapro 10 mg due to lingering depression(Total of 2 failed tapers & severe PAWS)

9/11/2018 - Present: Still on 10 mg Lexapro and mostly recovered.(Anxiety still triggers Myoclonus.)

10/7/2022 - 20 mg Lexapro (brand only) Plus occasional Klonopin for anxiety and Ambien for insomnia.

 

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When you're evaluating information in popular media, you need to read the original research papers being discussed. Quite often, the paper doesn't say what a Time magazine article might say it said, or even what the researcher says in interviews.

 

In this case, Time has picked up another biological psychiatry "breakthrough." Historically, these have all turned out to be exactly as meaningful as the "chemical imbalance" theory. Biological psychiatry is hard at work trying to find a biological basis for so-called psychiatric symptoms to justify its existence. Its discoveries tend to be reported breathlessly but come to nothing.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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