Many parents of children with special needs experience depression induced by the stress of the challenges they face daily. Hope is on the horizon as researchers continue to investigate innovative new treatment methods.
Scientists at the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics have discovered how memories (both positive and negative) impact mood disorders. These researchers sought to determine if a positive memory could overcome a negative one. The subjects were mice engineered to have memories tagged in the dentate gyrus area of the brain, which could be reactivated through an optical fiber.
Male mice were first provided with exposure to a female mouse to create a positive experience to remember. Then they had a negative event that led to a form of depression. Light was then used to remind the mice of the earlier positive experience and caused a rapid recovery from the depression. This was continued for five days, leading to continual reactivation of the positive memories and resistance to stress-induced depression.
The take away? While this is an early study, it may lead to new treatments for depression. Individuals can try using positive memories to reduce their depression--it can't hurt.
Do you have any experience using positive memories to treat or reduce your depression?