Alex Korb – The most common psychological disorder in America. It affects more than 1 in 10 Americans and is the cause of more than half of the suicides committed each year. More people suffer from this disorder than coronary heart disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDS…combined. It strains our healthcare system as we seek out treatments and cures. It affects every aspect of life and can leave sufferers feeling alone, isolated, misunderstood, and helpless. It is depression.
Depression is the most common mental disorder in the United States. Its prevalence is often masked by the fact that sufferers don’t always talk about it with family and friends. Further, there is prejudice against depression as a disorder, with some people even feeling that it isn’t a real condition. Depression can feel like a downward spiral, pulling you into a vortex of sadness, fatigue, and apathy. But there are ways to cope and recover. Depression is one of the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses. In our episode this week we speak with Neuroscientist Alex Korb, PhD. Alex is the author of the book The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time.
Alex Korb, PhD, is a neuroscientist who has studied the brain for over fifteen years, starting with an undergraduate degree in neuroscience from Brown University. He received his PhD in neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he wrote his dissertation and numerous scientific articles on depression. He is currently a postdoctoral neuroscience researcher at UCLA in the department of psychiatry. Outside of the lab, he is a scientific consultant for the biotech and pharmaceutical industry, and is head coach of the UCLA Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team. He has a wealth of experience in yoga and mindfulness, physical fitness, and even stand-up comedy.
“The emotions that we experience are all in contrast to each other. The more capable you are of experiencing despair, the more you can experience joy.”
– Alex Korb
Quotes from Alex:
[shadowbox]”Once we have more clarified goals it changes our brains response to the world and how it perceives the world. It becomes more effective at organizing all of our resources towards achieving something.”
“Once we start moving towards a direction with purpose, we become more effective and we become happier.”
“The way the human brain is designed, anxiety and depression are just natural byproducts of the interaction of brain circuits that we all have. Some people are fortunate to where their circuits don’t get stuck with anxiety or depression, but many are not so lucky.”
“It’s a little too simplistic to think that we could ever cure something as complex as human depression by using just a simple pill that goes everywhere in the brain and effects all of the difference circuits throughout.”[/shadowbox]
What we learn in this episode:
- What are some of the proven methods of improving depression?
- Why does anxiety and depression still exist? How have we not “evolved past” these types of destructive tendencies, behaviors, and characteristics?
- Does “shock therapy” work as an effective treatment for depression?
- What exactly is the nervous system? And is it possible to strengthen the nervous system?
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