Elsa, the snow queen from the extremely popular Disney film Frozen, sings, “Let it go; Let it go; You’ll never see me cry.” In a study funded partially by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, this ‘let it go’ attitude may not be so easy for people struggling with untreated depression.
Researchers from Stony Brook University, the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan Medical School conducted this study. They simulated online dating scenarios and investigated the reactions to acceptance and rejection. 35 individuals were part of this study. Half were suffering from untreated depression and the other half were non-depressed.
When healthy humans experience physical or mental pain, the brain releases chemicals similar to morphine to manage the pain. These researchers discovered that when people are faced with rejection, the level of chemicals released by the brain was less in those who suffered from untreated depression.
On a cheerful note, the study also found that both healthy and depressed people responded favorably when the simulated online dating scenario went in a positive direction.
Scott Langenecker, one of the researchers from the University of Illinois states, “We expect work of this type to highlight different subtypes of depression, where distinct brain systems may be affected in different ways, requiring us to measure and target these networks by developing new and innovative treatments.”
These lyrics are also from Frozen and might be more applicable to the person suffering with untreated depression, “My soul is spiraling with frozen fractals all around.”
You can read more about the study here: