Archive for the 'Depression' Category

Jul 21 2010

Amygdala: How Our Brain Processes and Stores Emotional Memory

The amygdala is the part of our brain’s limbic system responsible for the processing and memory of emotional reactions and triggering the fight, fight, or freeze process for human beings.

In the image below, the amygdala (dark red color) can be seen as part of the limbic system, just below the thalamus (also dark red).

The amygdala has been called the “emotional sentinel” of the human brain because it is primarily responsible for helping us to know when it is safe and unsafe.

The amygdala receives signals from our senses which it quickly evaluates. If the signal is safe, all is good.  However, if the amygdala determines the signal to be a threat, it sends a message to the hypthalamus to produce dopamine, epinephrine and norepenephrine which provide the chemical fuel for us to fight, flee or freeze.

The studies related to the amygdala have demonstrated that damage to the amygdala or negative personal experiences can result in such things as an inability to determine safe or unsafe facial expressions, hyperarousal, exaggerated fear responses or absence of fear responses.

So, if you grew up in an abusive, dangerous household, it is likely your amygdala has processed and stored those memories in a way which may keep you hyperaroused and unsure about the intentions of your partner.

Any tension or conflict with your spouse may easily result in a yelling match leaving you both depleted and demoralized.

Biology mixes with personal history, with disastrous results for personal and intimate relationships.

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Sep 02 2009

Dogs, painful electric shocks, and explanatory style: feeling discouraged

It’s pretty simple. The research shows us that when people feel discouraged and helpless, they are more likely to become depressed. There are several landmark studies conducted by Martin Seligman and Steven Maier describing the phenomenon of learned helplessness using dogs and the effect of exposing the dogs to unpleasant electrical shocks while in a harness.

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Dec 04 2008

Ever wondered if you were depressed? Check out this free online questionnaire for depression and/or bipolar depression

Click here for the questionnaire.

Please remember that an online questionnaire is not a substitute for a professional evaluation. If you have any questions about harming yourself, contact your nearest emergency room for help.

Depression is a temporary experience in most people’s lives. Hang in there, get help, and usually in 3-6 months (or sooner), you can be feeling better, more energetic, hopeful and productive.

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Aug 04 2008

Cognitive therapy: The Beck Institute Blog

If you are reading my blog, you know I’m writing about Cognitive Therapy.

In the spirit of offering you links to websites that offer great information, click here for the Beck Institute Blog.

You will find a wealth of information related to Cognitive Therapy, including commentary from Aaron Beck, one of the co-founders of the Cognitive Therapy.

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