We already knew stress was hazardous to our health for about a billion reasons. Now here's one more (just for fun!): Chronic stress can lead to mood disorders. Awesome. So being stressed makes us biologically MORE stressed and unhappy?! That just doesn't seem fair! Unfortunately, it's true: A recent study found that chronic stress can block a gene called neuritin, which can create brain conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and the need to eat people's faces off (just kidding about that last one).
Seriously though, this explains a lot, doesn't it? No wonder everybody seems just a bit on edge these days. We're all stressed out, whether or not we realize it. To live in a state of chronic stress is considered normal by society's standards, but our brains, apparently, are not fooled. Yo, we aren't wired for all this multitasking crap! Chill out or we're gonna burn out!
There is, at least, a silver lining to this recent discovery ...
Since researchers were able to pinpoint the neuritin gene's role in mood disorders, they should be able to develop more effective treatments. In the study, boosting neuritin production in depressed rats worked just as well as administering antidepressants.
Still, wouldn't the best way to eliminate mood disorders be to prevent them from developing in the first place? More than anything else, doesn't this study serve as yet another wake-up call? Stress is bad, mkay? So we need to figure out a way to live less stressful lives. Easier said than done, I know. But considering the current state of affairs -- dude, people are so stressed they think the zombie apocalypse might actually be coming -- I don't think we have a choice.
Do you think stress affects your moods?
Image via Eamon Curry/Flickr