Study Discovers Mechanisms Behind Relapse After Treatment of MDD

A new study has discovered abnormalities in neural emotional regulation in individuals suffering from remitted major depressive disorder (MDD). The study’s findings highlight some neural mechanisms that may play a role in relapse.

The author of the study, Rozemarijn S. van Kleef, stated that the interest in this role arose from the fact that depression recurring after remission was a huge issue on a societal as well as a personal level. A psychological therapist, van Kleef explained that it was crucial to gain more insight into the mechanisms underlying this recurrence, giving the examples of prior studies, which had found that patients with severe depression demonstrated abnormalities in the functioning of their brains during the processing and regulation of negative emotional data.

The research included 25 control participants and 50 participants with remitted recurrent major depressive disorder. The criteria for choosing patients with depression to take part in the study included the following: participants had to have no other current psychiatric diagnoses; they had to have experienced at least two depressive episodes in the last five years; or they had to be in remission from their most recent depressive episodes for more than two months.

Each participant was required to complete the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire. They also completed two rumination evaluations centered on rumination in regards to positive affect and thinking about sadness.

The researchers discovered that patients with depression had more dysfunctional emotion regulation in comparison to those in the control group. Patients with depression also had a greater tendency to temper positive feelings and dwell on negative content. They also reported that they used more of expressive suppression and less of cognitive reappraisal.

The researchers had each participant finish an emotion regulation task while undergoing an fMRI scan in order to study emotion regulation. Here, the researchers showed the participants pictures that contained emotionally positive, negative or neutral content and asked participants to try increasing the intensity of positive emotions or decreasing the intensity of negative emotions or observing the pictures passively.

They discovered that patients with depression demonstrated a different brain activity pattern in comparison to the control group when they were requested to increase positive emotion intensity and observe emotional images passively. Van Kleef noted that the study’s findings had clinical implications that could play an important role in relapse prevention.

The study was reported in the “NeuroImage: Clinical” journal. Other researchers involved in the study include Marie-José van Tol, André Aleman, Claudi L.H. Bockting, Evelien van Valen and Jan-Bernard C. Marsman.

Hopefully, the new treatments for major depressive disorder that are being developed by companies such as Cybin Inc. (NYSE American: CYBN) (NEO: CYBN) from psychedelic compounds will address the mental disorder from the root and perhaps even eliminate the possibility of a relapse once an individual completes recommended treatment.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) (NYSE American: CYBN) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CYBN

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