Stress, the Brain and Depression
Full course description
It has become increasingly clear that stress is one of the most important triggers for several cognitive-affective disorders. For instance, a tremendous amount of biological and cognitive-psychological research has been conducted on the onset and course of stress-related affective disorders like depression. Cognitively oriented psychologists have shown that the chance of developing stress-related depression is enhanced as a result of negative and dysfunctional (stress-inducing) thoughts, whereas biologically oriented psychologists and psychiatrists particularly emphasize the importance of biochemical brain dysfunction. Yet, despite intensive research over the past decades, unidirectional biological and cognitive achievements have not yet produced definitive conclusions about critical psychobiological risk factors involved in stress-related affective disorders like depression. In addition, and contrary to a one-dimensional approach, this course will concentrate on the interaction between stress and (genetic-) brain vulnerability in explaining susceptibility for stress-related affective disorders.
Students will be able to understand:
- gene-brain mechanisms involved in stress;
- biochemistry of depression;
- interaction between genes, brain, stress and depression.