Stressors when applicable on two individuals in given circumstances can yield different results. They may force one to be mentally retarded or disabled while other may pass out unharmed. Why is it that stressors – like death or bankruptcy – can be life altering for one individual and unknowingly to other? What is it that differentiates the consequences even when the circumstances are similar? This ambiguity has haunted many philosophers and many researches have been done to discover the cause of this abnormality.
Scientists from Duke University, Durham have started to have a clue in this regard. They believe that amygdale, an almond-shaped group of nuclei in the temporal lobe of brain can be an indicator to the vulnerability of an individual to depression. The reactivity of amygdala during stressful circumstances can be a predicative marker of risk.
Many studies have been done in the past to speculate the individual’s reactiveness to trauma and also map the differences in brain activity of different individuals. However, previous studies focused their attention on participants who endured war and active combat events. This study, on the contrary, is generic in nature and studies less traumatic situations like divorce or death.
Another study comprising of 340 healthy young adults published in Neuron explores the increase of risk, like being treatment-resilient or development of fatal psychological problems, arising in different individuals when exposed to stressors but not others. The intensity of this activation was measured by using functional magnetic resonance imaging.
The research done in the lab of Ahmad Hariri (professor of psychology and neuroscience) concludes that handling stress is outcome of amygdale reactivity with stress which predicts internalizing symptoms and other is how the brain reacts.
Depression has the most adverse effect than any other form of stresses. Around 350 million people suffer from it but still as per WHO it remains widely undiagnosed and untreated because of underreported or misdiagnosed. Sometimes individuals themselves do not understand the symptoms and only access the treatment when it becomes chronic and difficult to live with. The study of first author Johnna Swartz, a Duke postdoctoral researcher says that people should be guided to seek the medical assistance earlier before it turns so worse and fatal that the person can’t go with.
There will be a continuous research to understand why some people are more susceptible to the mental health problems.