Adult and teen depression affects many lives and any research clarifying how it works is helpful in treatment. ScienceDaily recently reported on a new University College London (UCL) study concerning a part of the brain labeled the habenula. This tiny part of the brain reacts to unpleasant experiences, making it of interest for understanding adult and teen depression.
What the study found
The results were surprising to the researchers conducting the study. It’s been long thought that the habenula is hyperactive within people with depression, which also helps in driving the symptoms of adult and teen depression. But when they tested this theory, they got the opposite result. Instead, the habenula reacted less in people struggling with depression.
Between the individuals who had never been depressed and those that had, there was no difference in habenula size. Although, they did find that overall–never-depressed and depressed–that those with a smaller habenula had more anhedonia symptoms (a loss of pleasure or interest in life).
Now researchers understand the habenula’s role in adult and teen depression a little more clearly. They think the habenula may aid us in moving past or avoiding unpleasant memories or thoughts–but when messed with, we may be more prone to focus on negative experiences.
What this means for teen depression
More than 1 in 10 teens, ages 12 to 17, have experienced extreme teen depression at some point. Many effective treatments exist today, but those treatments don’t always work for everyone; this makes it still extremely important to seek out new information concerning teen depression. This study doesn’t solve teen depression, but it helps researchers further understand what causes and drives it to persist.
Solstice East can help
Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with teen depression, anxiety, trauma, and other emotional or behavioral issues. We strive to help our girls lead themselves back onto a path of health and happiness.
For more information about Solstice East, please call 828-484-9946.