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Brain reacts to psychotherapy

Date:
April 15, 2015
Source:
Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt | Graz | Wien
Summary:
A recent study investigates the changes that take place in brain functioning: “The human brain responds to depression. Patients typically show hyperactivity particularly in the amygdala, the striatum and other limbic regions”, a researcher explains. “Using psychodynamic therapy, we wanted to determine whether psychotherapy has an effect on these brain activities.”
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"The human brain responds to depression. Patients typically show hyperactivity particularly in the amygdala, the striatum and other limbic regions," Svenja Taubner (Department of Psychology) explains. Together with colleagues from the universities of Lübeck, Innsbruck, Heidelberg, Ulm, Bremen, Bochum and Delmenhorst, Taubner has been working on a study that investigates the changes that take place in brain functioning. She elaborates further: "Using psychodynamic therapy, we wanted to determine whether psychotherapy has an effect on these brain activities."

The researchers examined 18 unmedicated patients with recurring depressive disorders on two separate occasions. The control group comprised 17 healthy individuals. Individualized stimuli were used with all participants (sentences such as "You wish to be accepted by others." Or "Therefore you do a lot for them."). Before psychotherapeutic treatment commenced, individuals suffering from depressive disorders reacted to these stimuli with hyperactivity in certain regions of the brain.

The participants were re-examined after eight months of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Svenja Taubner summarizes the results as follows: "We were able to show that it is possible to normalize the changes in the limbic system, which had been triggered by individually tailored stimuli reflecting clinically relevant content, after eight months of treatment." A follow-up after 20 months of treatment will be reported soon.


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Materials provided by Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt | Graz | Wien. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Daniel Wiswede, Svenja Taubner, Anna Buchheim, Thomas F. Münte, Michael Stasch, Manfred Cierpka, Horst Kächele, Gerhard Roth, Peter Erhard, Henrik Kessler. Tracking Functional Brain Changes in Patients with Depression under Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Using Individualized Stimuli. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (10): e109037 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109037

Cite This Page:

Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt | Graz | Wien. "Brain reacts to psychotherapy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150415090857.htm>.
Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt | Graz | Wien. (2015, April 15). Brain reacts to psychotherapy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150415090857.htm
Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt | Graz | Wien. "Brain reacts to psychotherapy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150415090857.htm (accessed May 24, 2017).

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