Human Brain In Clouds Artificial Intelligence
Human Brain In Clouds Artificial Intelligence

Why We Get Depressed with Heather Berlin

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About This Episode

What is depression? Neil deGrasse Tyson and co-hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly break down the neuroscience behind major depression, its treatments, and the factors that contribute to this pervasive condition with neuroscientist Heather Berlin, PhD. Is there any adaptive reason behind depression?

What is the difference between depression and just being sad? Learn about how people get diagnosed with depression or dysthymia. We discuss the history of psychological disorders and how the serotonin pathway contributes to depression. Find out how SSRIs work and why we don’t just take Serotonin pills.

Chuck shares his experience with depression and what it is like to fake being happy when you are not. We break down the dopaminergic system and how there is now evidence that glutamate is involved in depression. Discover different treatments like ECT and transcranial magnetic stimulation. We discuss different environmental triggers, or “stressors,” for depression. Is seasonal depression real? We explore people’s ability to tolerate stressors, exposure therapy, and the stress diathesis model.

How do hormones affect depression? We discuss postpartum depression and menopause. We explore if there is an adaptive reason behind depression and how depressive signaling works in our society now. Is it possible that features that used to be adaptive are now maladaptive in our current environment? Could we someday have a pill to cure all mental illness?

Thanks to our Patrons Geoff Malone, Neander Rowlett, Brial Teel, Baran Blaser, Maxwell Miller, Doug Litwin, and Edward Bally for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

In This Episode

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