What Happens to Our Brains When We Get Depressed?

15 Replies, 1119 Views

What Happens to Our Brains When We Get Depressed?


Quote:Hill’s graduate work in Lausanne was at times demoralizing. He reasoned that, for his research to be worth the costs to both the lab that conducted it and the cats who were its subjects, the resulting data—perhaps even all brain data—should live in the public domain. But scientists generally prefer not to share. Data, after all, is a kind of currency: it helps generate findings, which lead to jobs, money, and professional recognition. Researchers are loath to simply give away a commodity they worked hard to acquire. “There’s an old joke,” says Hill, “that neuroscientists would rather share toothbrushes than data.”

He believes that, if they don’t get over this aversion—and if they continue to stash data in basements and on encrypted hard drives—many profound questions about the brain will remain unanswered. This is not just a matter of academic curiosity: if we improve our understanding of the brain, we could develop treatments that have long eluded us for major mental illnesses.



Quote:But what actually causes depression? Is there a tiny but important area of the brain that researchers should focus on? And does there even exist a singular disorder called depression, or is the label a catch-all denoting a bunch of distinct disorders with similar symptoms but different brain mechanisms?
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


[-] The following 1 user Likes Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • Typoz
Quote:The last step was to euthanize the cats and dissect their brains
(human) Curiosity killed the cats.

The point about data being hidden away somewhere after it has been collected is an interesting one.

On the topic of depression, it's difficult to quite connect with a brain-based explanation. Often the cause may be in the external environment or in events occurring or previously happened to a person. I'm not suggesting suffering is a good thing, but if there is a problem with the environment I'd really not rejoice in scientists coming up with some new medical treatment to make it tolerable! There is also the role of free will and conscious thoughts which are often central, but not acknowledged in a brain dissection.
[-] The following 2 users Like Typoz's post:
  • nbtruthman, Sciborg_S_Patel
(2021-05-24, 12:44 PM)Typoz Wrote: (human) Curiosity killed the cats.

The point about data being hidden away somewhere after it has been collected is an interesting one.

On the topic of depression, it's difficult to quite connect with a brain-based explanation. Often the cause may be in the external environment or in events occurring or previously happened to a person. I'm not suggesting suffering is a good thing, but if there is a problem with the environment I'd really not rejoice in scientists coming up with some new medical treatment to make it tolerable! There is also the role of free will and conscious thoughts which are often central, but not acknowledged in a brain dissection.

I think the challenge is with depression it seems to be causally disconnected from the environment for many people.

I agree that this can lead to a dangerous sort of situation where easily available drugs allows certain macro-forces (corporations, governments) to demand/expect/tolerate suffering because there's a "solution".

OTOH, depression at times seems akin to a curse and breaking this curse allows one's true self (whatever that is for each person) to engage with the world.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2021-05-28, 05:14 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
[-] The following 1 user Likes Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • Typoz
Off-topic posts moved here: [Discussion split from:] What Happens to Our Brains When We Get Depressed?
(2021-05-22, 03:35 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: What Happens to Our Brains When We Get Depressed?


"...if we improve our understanding of the brain, we could develop treatments that have long eluded us for major mental illnesses."

This seems to be the statement of a mind-equals-brain materialist neuroscientist. It is merely an unstated and unjustified background assumption that all of the mind is solely a function of the physical brain. There is a boatload of empirical evidence in parapsychology and the study of psychical phenomena, and powerful arguments in the philosophy of mind, that militate against this. Logically, if mind does not equal brain, perhaps not all disorders of the mind (like depression) can be traced to disorders of the physical neurological structures of the brain and its biochemistry. Logically, there would be the possibility that the spirit itself is what is sick. I actually hope this isn't the case, because the physicalist assumption at least could lead to successful treatments. How to treat sicknesses of the soul? 

Aside from the brain's daunting extreme complexity, this may be the underlying reason for the failure of neuro-medicine to come up with effective treatments for depression and other mental disorders. Using the TV set analogy for the mind-brain relationship, the neuro-scientists may be trying to fix problems in the program being displayed by trying to fix problems in the TV set, rather than being open to the realization that some of these problems are in the spirit itself that is being manifested in the physical by the TV set. They perhaps are going to have to go much further afield, at least to the TV station, or more likely to the program producer, writer and director, to fix the problems in the program.
(This post was last modified: 2021-05-29, 11:53 PM by nbtruthman.)
[-] The following 2 users Like nbtruthman's post:
  • Typoz, Sciborg_S_Patel
(2021-05-29, 11:38 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: This seems to be the statement of a mind-equals-brain materialist neuroscientist. It is merely an unstated and unjustified background assumption that all of the mind is solely a function of the physical brain.

But why do you think the brain is "physical"?

Even in the descriptions of the spiritual realities there is "stuff" and there are often enough "bodies"...are those physical?
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2021-06-05, 10:12 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: But why do you think the brain is "physical"?

Even in the descriptions of the spiritual realities there is "stuff" and there are often enough "bodies"...are those physical?

Well, the brain is made of matter, no? Matter is inherently physical, and so are the physical forces, like gravity, electricity, etc.

To my thinking, at least, this physical realm is merely a construct ~ a spiritual reality with very particular qualities, if you will.

To interact with this reality, we need to "lower" ourselves to the level of this reality somehow, and the brain plays a role in helping ground us to this reality.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
~ Carl Jung


[-] The following 1 user Likes Valmar's post:
  • Sciborg_S_Patel
(2021-06-05, 10:12 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: But why do you think the brain is "physical"?

Even in the descriptions of the spiritual realities there is "stuff" and there are often enough "bodies"...are those physical?

Dictionary definition of "physical": "of or relating to the body, as distinguished from the mind or spirit; of or concerned with matter and energy." The brain sure seems to be physical - made of neural cells composed of matter and energy arranged in an incredibly complex pattern. It can be imaged and dissected by physical methods such as scalpels and CAT scans. A lot of neuroscientists would contend that it is immensely obviously physical.

The soul or spirit would not be physical according to this definition, but would still exist, and still be able to interact wih the physical brain  - the dualism for which there is much empirical evidence. Even the mind and thought and awareness and experience that are assoiated with us as physical beings are fundamentally not physical - see the "hard problem".
[-] The following 1 user Likes nbtruthman's post:
  • Typoz
(2021-06-06, 08:16 AM)Valmar Wrote: Well, the brain is made of matter, no? Matter is inherently physical, and so are the physical forces, like gravity, electricity, etc.

To my thinking, at least, this physical realm is merely a construct ~ a spiritual reality with very particular qualities, if you will.

To interact with this reality, we need to "lower" ourselves to the level of this reality somehow, and the brain plays a role in helping ground us to this reality.

But what's matter? I don't think anyone actually knows, we just have measurements (maths which is mental) and observations (sensory so also mental).

If there is only one substance, one "stuff", then the brain is also made of the same "stuff" as the soul. Even at different levels there's just different arrangements of that "stuff" (which might just be Mind).

In a spiritual realm someone could curse you to be depressed, and this would involve some kind of structural/causal relationship. If someone gives you a potion to cure that curse, that also involves some interaction between variations of the fundamental "stuff".

Similarly there is something about the structure of the brain that impinges on the emotional well being of a person, and some treatment from neuroscience can help the person. It doesn't mean the consciousness is "physical" in the sense that mind=brain and there's no afterlife.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2021-06-06, 11:06 AM)nbtruthman Wrote: Dictionary definition of "physical": "of or relating to the body, as distinguished from the mind or spirit; of or concerned with matter and energy." The brain sure seems to be physical - made of neural cells composed of matter and energy arranged in an incredibly complex pattern. It can be imaged and dissected by physical methods such as scalpels and CAT scans. A lot of neuroscientists would contend that it is immensely obviously physical.

But there are bodies in the spiritual realms as well?

And it seems these bodies can at the least be affected by the objects in the spiritual world?

There's only a Hard Problem if someone thinks that matter and spirit are fundamentally distinct.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell



  • View a Printable Version
Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)