New Research: Relieving Symptoms of Teen Depression Through Brain Treatment

teen depression

A recent article by Medical Xpress discussed current research that has found that treatments that include direct interventions to the brain—such as deep brain stimulation or transcranial magnetic stimulation—may relieve the symptoms of severe mental disorders, including teen depression.

New Research Opens Up Our Understanding of Teen Depression

Scientists are aware that the brain undergoes changes when a person has teen depression or a similar mood disorder. The common issue with neuroscientific research, though, is that it is unclear whether these structural changes in the brain cause, or are caused by, teen depression or other mental illnesses.

The new research of teen depression, is investigating a new direct intervention technique to combat the symptoms and effects of teen depression. To conduct the research, researchers induced abnormal brain activity similar to teen depression in mice, and then manipulated various circuits of the brain to successfully control and reverse the effects.

The Theory Behind the Research

Their theory, is that brain changes are indeed responsible, and predate, the development of mental disorders such as teen depression. They believe that with the right techniques, these changes could be reversed, ultimately improving a patient’s mental disorder.

The technique works by implanting electrodes in four key areas in the mouse’s brain—the prefrontal cortex, and the three sub-areas of the limbic system: the nucleus accumbens, the ventral tegmental area and the amygdala. By measuring the electrical signals between these areas, the researchers were able to determine the functional connections between them and understand how these parts of the brain communicate with each other during normal brain activity.

The mice were then repeatedly exposed to a form of chronic stress, which is been proven to cause similar behaviors in animals related to those found in teen depression. They found that connections between areas of the brain were altered by this stress, creating a “neural signature” of depression in the brain.


The team was able to reverse this abnormality in the stressed mice’s brain activity. By stimulating a key area of the brain tissue, normal communication between the areas of the brain were restored, returning the mice’s brain to their pre-stressed state. Their behavior returned to normal and their stress disappeared.

The team’s findings not only provide a clearer understanding of the causes of teen depression and other mental illnesses, but also provide a powerful step towards developing treatments. If your teen is suffering from depression, there are current treatments available for them.

Elevations RTC can help

Elevations RTC is a leading residential treatment center for teens, ages 13 to 18, grappling with anxiety, depression, substance use, and other emotional or behavioral issues. As a residential treatment center for teens, we try to go above and beyond other RTC’s by having not only one on-site psychiatrist, but two practitioners who see each student weekly. We also have an academic component that uses an accredited curriculum and licensed/credentialed teachers. With all of this, we strive to give each student the most efficient and beneficial experience possible.

For more information about Elevations RTC, please call today.

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