[달콤한 사이언스] Are you depressed? See photos or videos of her smiling face: ZUM News


Images related to stress and depression

Depression and depressive disorder are the main symptoms of low motivation and depression, and they cause various cognitive and psychosomatic symptoms, making everyday life difficult and shaking the life of the whole individual. For this reason, unlike in the past, which was considered lightly as ‘coldness of the heart’, it is now being recognized seriously.

In Western countries such as the United States and Europe, the prevalence of depression is known to reach 10 to 17%. According to the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, as of 2021, the number of depression patients in Korea was 933,481, an increase of 37 percentage points from five years ago and shows an increasing trend every year. Since the spread of COVID-19, the number of people complaining of depression is increasing, and the number is predicted to exceed 1 million this year.

Depression is often treated with antidepressant medications and psychiatric cognitive therapy. However, there are many patients with severe depression who do not respond to antidepressants. Neuroscientists have found that people with depression can benefit from seeing pictures or photos of smiling people.

A joint research team at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Baylor School of Medicine, and Houston Veterans Hospital found that looking at images of smiling people as a result of simple neurocognitive training using a computer was useful in treating patients with severe depression. The results of this study were published in the September 22 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, an international scientific journal in the field of neuroscience.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2020, 21 million American adults reported symptoms of depression. About 9 million adults are known to be diagnosed with depression each year, and nearly 3 million, or a third, are not taking antidepressants.

The research team divided 150 adults with treatment-resistant severe depression into two groups. One group was given an antidepressant and watched a YouTube movie or music program, while the other group watched a comedy-like video containing lots of smiley faces and images of smiling people for 20 minutes after taking the antidepressant.

As a result, it was confirmed that the antidepressant treatment effect was higher in patients who saw pictures or videos with smiling faces than those who only watched the video. It is explained that the symptoms of depression are weakened in people who see them smiling. This result was confirmed to apply to all depressive symptoms except severe depression. The research team explained that seeing a smiling face naturally raises positive thoughts in the brain and weakens the barrier of depression, so drugs or cognitive therapy are effective.

Rebecca Price, professor of psychiatry and clinical psychology at the University of Pittsburgh who led the study, said, “The results of this study show that simple neurocognitive training using positive words or pictures can have unexpectedly large effects in the treatment of depression.” “It shows that people with depression need to be encouraged to continue thinking positively through the people around them or using a computer or smartphone,” he explains.

Reporter Yoo Yong-ha

▶ The Military Interior

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