This weeks topic was mental illnesses. The lecture and book focused on the anxiety, affective and schizophrenia disorders. Our weeks started again with a opening lecture, followed by an quiz of the topic.
I would think that mental disorders and really close to the life of Finnish people. Almost everyone, I know, knows a person with mental disorders of some kind. That is why this topic was really interesting to me to understand and study.
Anxiety disorder is a really interesting disorder. I was not considered as a mental illness 100 years ago but now we can find it almost every society in the world. what made me interested is the proposed system of how the anxiety works and how are systems is activated more on the more developed societies. It is said that the overexpression and continuous activation HPA system causes anxiety. It is also noted that people with more choices compare to people with less choice have more anxiety problems. Is this due to the multiple choices that people can make? When a lot of choices a given or people have freedom and ability to do anything, does it overload the brain, which could cause inappropriate activation of the HPA system? I would not even consider that dictatorship is the cure for anxiety but I’m just wondering…
The numbers we learned about mental disorders as a cost to society were astonishing. That the cost is so high really shows what an important problem it is to solve. Perhaps the most essential problem, since, our subjective experience is the one that really matters at the end of the day. For everyone, no matter what you do – the experience that is in the end produced by the nervous system is final.
I found the aspect of treating mental disorders with medications fascinating. I think about it in the following way:
You can do two things to change your brain. Either do lifestyle changes (i.e. exercise more, eat better and sleep well) or you can eat some medication. For example, antidepressants that stimulate serotonin receptors or dopamine receptors in some way could end up causing similar effects? Because lifestyle changes essentially cause neurochemical changes in the brain that we should be able to mimic with the right medication.
However, this is not the case currently. It seems to be very hard to find the right medication because the brain system is a complex one. Additionally, we are all wired slightly differently depending on our experiences and heritage – making it more difficult. Mental illness is perhaps the most intriguing and important problem that faces neuroscience today, in my humble opinion.