Human Behavior Problems and Diseases Copyright 2010. PEER.tamu.edu
Topics to be Covered: • Common brain problems • Specific nervous system diseases • Alcoholism and drug abuse
What Can Happen to the Brain: • Chemical messengers (transmitters) in the brain can be enhanced or suppressed. Change the anatomy and modify neural pathways • Cells and/or fiber tracts may die Damage to brain can make us behave badly, cripple us, or even destroy our personality and sense of self.
Major Brain Problems: • Addiction – compulsive behavior or cravings • Alzheimer's disease- causes death of nerve cells, first in the outer parts of brain (cerebral cortex) that gives us our personality and our ability to think • Depression - severe state of feeling bad that is continuous most of the day, every day • Stroke - interruption of blood supply to brain, due either to hemorrhage or to blocked arteries • Epilepsy - random episodes of convulsions • Trauma - concussion, ruptures of nerve tracts due to mechanical forces (such as sports injuries, car crashes, etc.) • Schizophrenia - complex, abnormal behaviors and thought disorders • Parkinson's disease- continuous trembling that progresses to poor ability to move
People Affected by Brain Disorders Are: • from all regions • all countries • all societies • women and men at all stages of life • among the rich and poor • among people living in urban and rural areas
Many People Have Brain & Behavior Problems • Recent analyses done by World Health Organization show that about 10% of peoplein the world suffer from a mental disorders attributable to diseases of the nervous system. • This calculates to be about 450 million people
Some Nervous System Diseases Are Common in Children Children • Clinical Depression • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder • Autism
Depression is a serious medical illness that can lead to suicide! Clinical Depression is feeling "down" and "low" and “hopeless" for weeks at a time. Feeling "down in the dumps" or "blue" for a few days is NOTdepression.
You Can Do Things to Prevent Depression! • People can change how they respond to bad events • Two basic “explanatory styles” for dealing with bad happenings: • Optimism: belief that the problem is temporary, an isolated case, and not caused by an inevitable personal deficiency • Pessimism: belief that the problem is permanent, a generalizable problem, and is caused by an inevitable personal deficiency
Forms of Depression: Most Common: Major Depressive Disorder Dysthymic Disorder -low grade depression Less Common: Psychotic Depression Postpartum Depression Seasonal Affective Disorder
No Single Known Cause of Depression : • Most likely, it comes from a combination of • Genetic • Biochemical • Environmental • Psychological factors
Signs and Symptoms of Depression: • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
Depression and Other Illnesses Often Co-exist: • Other illnesses may • precede the depression • cause it • and/or be a consequence of it • Mechanisms behind depression and other illnesses differ for every person and situation. • Research has indicated that the co–existence of mood disorders and substance abuse (alcohol, drugs) is common among the U.S. population.
Research Indicates that Depressive Illnesses are Disorders of the Brain • It has been shown that the brains of people who have depression look different than those of people without depression. • Parts of the brain function abnormally, like those responsible for regulating mood, thinking, sleep, appetite and behavior. • Also, important neurotransmitters appear to be out of balance. Discuss the differences in these two pictures.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): • PTSD develops after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. • Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include: • violent personal assaults • natural or human-caused disasters • accidents • military combat Firefighters at the site of The World Trade Center attacks.
PTSD Symptoms: Symptoms can include but are not limited to: • Persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal • Feel emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to • Sleep problems • Feeling detached or numb • Easily startled
PTSD Symptoms in Children: Symptoms in children may include: • Bedwetting, when they’d learned how to use the toilet before. • Forgetting how or being unable to talk. • Acting out the scary event during playtime. • Being unusually clingy with a parent or other adult.
Lasting Affects of PTSD: • In PTSD, the natural “fight-or-flight” response is changed or damaged. • People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they’re no longer in danger. The brain is like a machine, all the parts need to work properly!
Triggering PTSD: “PTSD often smolders at a sort of sub-threshold level,” said Barry Fisher, MD, medical director of the behavioral medicine clinic at Highland Drive VA Hospital in Pittsburgh. “A current life stressor—losing a job, getting divorced—can tip the balance, because it brings anxiety and triggers thoughts about the last time the person felt he was in a life-threatening situation.”
Autism Occurs Early in Chldhood • Autism is a neurological disorder that impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. • Experts estimate autism occurs in one of every one-hundred births and 1 to 1.5 million Americans are living with autism. • It is the 2nd most common developmental disorder. Ranges in severity.
Autism Has Serious Consequences • Causes severe and pervasive impairment in thinking, feeling, language, and the ability to relate to others. • Can be diagnosed as early as 18 months of age.
Autism Symptoms Are Easy to Spot: Possible Indicators: • Does not babble, point, or make meaningful gestures by 1 year of age • Does not speak one word by 16 months • Does not combine two words by 2 years • Does not respond to name • Loses language or social skills Others: • Poor eye contact • Doesn't seem to know how to play with toys • Excessively lines up toys or other objects • Is attached to one particular toy or object • Doesn't smile • At times seems to be hearing impaired
Psychology Is the Study of the Mind • Psychology is an academic and applied discipline which involves the scientific study of human or animal mental functions and behaviors.
Many Mental Functions Are Studied by Psychologists • Psychologists study such phenomena as • Perception • Cognition • Attention • Emotion • Motivation • Personality • Behavior • Interpersonal relationships
Psychology Includes Treatment • Two approaches: medicines, “cognitive” therapy, often in combination • Medications: adjust levels of neurotransmitters • Cognitive therapy aims to identify troubling emotions, their causes, and how to think through a solution.
Alcoholism Is Not Rare: • Signs: • Drinking excessive amounts frequently • Inability to curb drinking despite medical, psychological, or social complications • Increased tolerance to alcohol • Occurrence of withdrawal symptoms when the person stops drinking • People Affected: • 7.4% of U.S. population, mostly young people
Addiction is a Compulsive Behavior: Two basic kinds: • Psychological - you do it because you like how it feels = positive reinforcement • Physical - you do it because your body now requires it for normal function • Degree of physical addictiveness scale (worst to least): nicotine, cocaine, amphetamines, narcotics, alcohol) Most addictions begin as psychological