Can stress really make you dumber?

As if we're not stressed enough, now we have to worry that our stress is actually SHRINKING OUR BRAIN?! Say what?!

A new study by Yale University has determined that severe depression and chronic stress can actually shrink the brain, which in turn affects mental functioning and emotion. So, basically, being depressed or stressed out can damage your brain… but now I'm depressed AND stressed out about damaging my brain! Geez, what now?


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This is particularly bad news from people suffering with those mental illnesses, and especially so for us since we Latinos don't really talk about family mental illness that much AND it's kind of upsetting that those who are suffering are only going to suffer more. Basically, for these people, their ailments can "shrink the brain by blocking the formation of new nerve connections," according to the Daily Mail UK. Study leader, Professor Ronald Duman, explains:

We show that circuits normally involved in emotion, as well as cognition, are disrupted when this single transcription factor is activated. We hope that by enhancing synaptic connections, either with novel medications or behavioral therapy, we can develop more effective antidepressant therapies.

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Well, one good thing that has come out of this (let's face it) kind of depressing study is that now that scientists have figured this out, they can actually do something about it. I'm honestly still a little bit stressed out that my stress may be doing some serious damage to my brain, but at least there may be a fix for that soon.

What do you think about this study that stress and depression can shrink your brain? Share with us in the comments below!

Image via bottled_void/flickr

Topics: mental health  depression  stress