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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can neuroscience research lead to improved treatments for depression?

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    Richard Hill

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    Resident counsellor/psychotherapist at the Davis Health Centre with a solution focused approach; an international lecturer on the neuroscience and psychosocial genomics of human behaviour; author … View Profile

    There are two ways that neuroscience assists us in improved treatments for depression. One is the very practical aspect that still occurs in the area of psychotherapy where people use talk therapy and various forms of non-invasive therapies. This helps the therapist understand more about what may or may not be going on in the brain. From the point non-invasive therapy, neuroscience is helping us improve and have more confidence in the therapies we use.

    In the context of invasive therapies this includes things that actually go into the brain and using the understanding of how the brain works, we use a technique called deep brain stimulation which has been very successful in treating people who have very, very difficult, deep, depressive symptoms. There are two areas in the brain, an area called the habenula and another called the subgenul cingulate cortex. We have found that when stimulated we can shift the nature of the way the brain is functioning and move it out of a depressive state.

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