治疗抑郁的大脑

科学家和精神健康专业人士在主导型抑郁症的理解和治疗方面已取得重大的进展,包括发现了血清素和去甲肾上腺素等脑化学物的不平衡所起的作用。但是,越来越多的证据显示,事情并不仅仅如此:抑郁症还涉及到大脑分管情绪、记忆和做决定的区域发生的结构性变化。

压力过大的经历常会突然引起抑郁症。大脑会解读我们的经历,判断这些经历是否具有威胁性,从而控制我们相应的行为和生理反应。从动物实验中获得的数据显示,有害的生理变化是因为大脑和身体不能用结构和功能上的适应性调整对反复的压力做出回应而造成的。三个大脑区域--海马、前额叶皮层、类扁桃体--特别容易受到大小和功能病理变化的影响。

这些区域有助于解读压力,决定恰当的反应。许多化学调节因子也参与其中,包括肾上腺分泌的血浆皮质醇和肾上腺素、其他的荷尔蒙和神经传递素(如血清素和去甲肾上腺素)、以及自律系统和免疫系统的反应。由于控制心脏、免疫系统和新陈代谢的系统中化学物质长期不平衡,从而发生抑郁症并导致身体其他部位的变化。

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