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Shake it off? Not so easy for people with depression, new brain research suggests

Getting rejected hurts depressed people for longer, U-M/Stony Brook/UIC study finds — due to the lack of a natural pain & stress-reducing chemical

Rejection's Effect on a Depressed Brain & a Healthy One
The brains of healthy individuals (left column) released natural opioids during social rejection (colored spots) that may help to reduce negative emotions associated with rejection. In contrast, study participants with depression (right column) did not release nearly as many opioids, which may contribute to a lingering depressed mood following rejection.


The authors also include U-M researchers Benjamin Sanford, B.S., Kortni Meyers, B.A. (now at ), Tiffany Love, Ph.D., Kathleen Hazlett, M.S. (now at ), , Ph.D. (now at Oregon Health & Science University), , M.D., Ph.D., and , Ph.D.

It still hurts: altered endogenous opioid activity in the brain during social rejection and acceptance in major depressive disorder: Molecular Psychiatry (2015) 20, 193-200; doi:10.1038/mp.2014.185

Funding: The research was supported by the National Institute of Health (K01 MH085035, K23 MH074459, R01 DA022520 and R01 DA027494), and by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the Rachel Upjohn Clinical Scholars program, the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research, and the Phil F. Jenkins Foundation.

University of Michigan Health System