It’s Brain Awareness Week, the global campaign to increase public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. In recognition, we’d like to share with you an excerpt from Dr. Gregory Jantz’s new book on depression — Turning Your Down Into Up: A Realistic Plan for Healing From Depression.
What New Brain Science Tells Us About Depression
The more we learn about depression from a scientific approach, the more encouraging the possibilities for innovative treatments.
The latest in brain science shows that people with a history of depression have a smaller hippocampus than those who have no such history. As noted by WebMD, this is notable because:
“A smaller hippocampus has fewer serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a calming brain chemical known as a neurotransmitter that allows communication between nerves in the brain and the body. It’s also thought that the neurotransmitter norepinephrine may be involved in depression.”
In his SPECT imaging research (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography), Dr. Daniel Amen has been able to identify 7 types of anxiety and depression:
- Pure Anxiety
- Pure Depression
- Mixed Anxiety and Depression
- Over-Focused Anxiety and Depression
- Temporal Lobe Anxiety and Depression
- Cyclic Anxiety and Depression
- “Lights Are Low” Anxiety and Depression
Specifically, these SPECT images are able to identify three areas of activity in the brain:
- areas that are working well
- areas of low activity
- areas of high activity
It’s based on these images that doctors can more accurately prescribe treatment. For instance, if the SPECT scan reveals low activity, the last thing needed is a prescription anti-depressant that lowers brain activity.
Dr. Jantz is the founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, and author of more than two dozen books on topics ranging from anxiety and depression, to addiction and eating disorders. Scheduled for release July 16, 2013, you can pre-order your copy of Turning Your Down Into Up today.