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Saturday, November 25, 2006

# 79 Stress,Depression Rewires the Brain

Stress, Depression Rewires the Brain
Professionals as well as laymen are now accepting the strong link between stress and depression: When one is typically present, unfortunately, often the other isn't too far behind. According to National Institute of Mental Health, the damage caused by a combination of the two can be far more extensive than that. Developments in brain imaging and neurology have shown stress really works to "rewire" the brain's emotional circuitry, altering its connections in a way so that it affects the way the brain functions.
Stress triggers a "fear center" in the amygdala sector of the brain that takes over emotions and affects thinking. Usually, when a stressful event occurs, our body's response to it fades away. Combined with depression, the chemical imbalance in the brain holds onto the stress, keeping the feelings active. And it gets worse.
Brain imaging scans have shown those who suffer from long-term stress may fail to feel any positive feelings in the prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain that maintains and originates emotions. When that depressed brain is "rewired," dread and fear can flow unimpeded from the amygdala to the prefrontal cortex.
A variety of stressors can adversely affect the brain:
Growing up in poverty
Ongoing work stress
Overscheduled work/school commitments
Thanks to brain imaging technology, however, experts believe the stress/depression combo that destroys nerve cell connections in the brain may be reversible. The "structural plasticity" and the remodeling of neurons allow the brain to be highly adaptable.
Kansas City Star November 3, 2004
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
In nearly all the patients I see, stress is a key factor in their illnesses because it plays a major role in their immune systems. And stress can lead to negative effects on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels too.
To their credit, some of the medical experts interviewed for this article were concerned the "easy way out" -- toxic new antidepressants to address the stress and depression mix you're feeling -- wouldn't be enough to solve the problem, and they're right. But it's impossible to completely eliminate stress from your life either. So what can you really do?
I believe you can work to provide your body with tools to compensate for the bioelectrical short-circuiting that can cause serious disruption in many of your body's important systems. The key is not the stress itself but your body's ability to tolerate it.
I've found energy psychology tools, like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), can be very useful to battle the dual effects of stress and depression. A form of psychological acupressure, EFT is based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for more than 5,000 years, but without the invasiveness of needles. You can review my free online manual to learn how to use this effective tool.
There's no questioning the power of prayer either. So many studies have documented it and the science that proves its healing power is very solid. So solid, I believe it's criminally negligent for physicians not to recommend it. If you're interested in learning more about the prayer and how it affects medical science, read Dr. Larry Dossey's article on Prayer and Medical Science.
If you work with meditation to keep stress at bay, you may want to consider trying the Insight CD. This brain wave entrainment tool allows your brain to rapidly and easily synchronize to the delta waves commonly experienced in meditation. And it does a phenomenal job of enhancing and expanding emotion, mental and spiritual capabilities.
Related Articles:
The Secret to a Longer Life
Delay the Aging Process Naturally
Stress Can Be Very Costly
Stress Affects Your Immune System: Clearly Defined Patterns Revealed
More Evidence That Stress is Major Factor for Infections
Five Simple Strategies to Reduce Stress and Eliminate Exhaustion

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