Brain News You Can Use (March 2013)
By Gail Sanders Durgin, Ph.D., BCN-Fellow, QEEGT
Links Found between Childhood Abuse and Adolescent Depression
A history of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse during childhood can lead to a substantially higher increase in depression in adolescence. This can happen due to an alteration of the person's neuroendocrine response to stress.
Dr. Kate Harkness conducted this research in Calgary. She found that adolescents with a history of maltreatment and mild depression released a higher level of the stress hormone cortisol in response to psychological stressor a math test or giving a speech in class.
Dr. Harkness explains, "This kind of reaction is a problem because cortical kills cells in the areas of the brain that control memory and emotion regulation." She continues, "Over time cortisol levels can build up and increase a person's risk for more severe endocrine impairment and more severe depression."
The study found that youths with a severe level of depression and with a history of maltreatment had a severe blunting of the endocrine response to stress. This suggests that the normal operation of the stress response can breakdown in severely depressed adolescents.
This study shows that environmental stress in childhood can change the function of the brain in ways that can lead to severe disorders of the brain as depression.
Gail Sanders Durgin, Ph.D. has been providing neurofeedback and biofeedback at Neurofeedback Associates Inc since 2000. She previously worked in mental health and developmental disabilities services for 18 years. Dr. Durgin offers the most advanced treatment services in the field in order to offer individualized client centered solutions to improve brain and life performance.
Published in Natural Triad, March, 2013