Philip Brown's Affective Disorder Rethinking Theory
Current research suggests at a least 1 out of 3 people (some 33%) will end up sitting on a couch talking to one of us
about their Affective Disorder. I look at the Affective Disorder spectrum from Major Depression to Generalized Anxiety as
one animal with many different heads. We have all seen mixed Affective Disorder, Depression with a side of Anxiety and Anxiety
with a bit of Depression. Well the whole spectrum is treated psychopharmologoically with the same type of medications. Medications
which reestablish a ratio of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine to some magic ratio to each other in the synaptic gap
that gives symptom reduction and/or resolution. The Newest boys on the block are the SSRI's and SNRI's. We try modify
mostly serotonin and norepherine levels to reestablish emotional harmony.
When I refer to the Affective Disorder
I mean Major Depression, Dysthymia, OCD, Eating Disorders, Panic Attacks, Phobias, and Generalized Anxiety with all their
NOS (Not Otherwise Specified) counterparts. They all seem to be modulated by the same electrochemical neuro pathway in the
brain. Therefore, I look at them as all the same beast with different manifestations of itself at different times sometime
within the same person.
Here is where it gets interesting. Remember the good old Normal Curve, the Bell Shaped
One, with its three Standard Deviations above and below it's mean? We would measure the population of all college freshman,
for height, weight, IQ (whatever that is) and so on and see a nice normal curve. Take IQ for example, mean at 100, SD=20,
NORMAL RANGE=Mean+/- one SD (IQ's 80-120). I'll bet there is a Normal Curve for S/N/D ratio (serotonin/norepherine/dopamine).
I'll also be if we measured it in the population today and had data from 100 or 150 years ago, it hasn't changed.
Someone, dig up some 150 year-old tissue and then do a double tailed "T" test... I think that 68% of the population
then and today would have a NORMAL S/N/D ratio. Just like height and weight I believe this level is passed on genetically.
Well if brain chemistry hasn't changed (evolved) in the past 100-150 years what has changed? Well, we had and
Industrial Revolution and an Information/Technology Revolution. Thousands of metric tons of pollutants and chemicals have
been added to our environment. We are now asked to multitask in 30 second bytes and have access to an almost unlimited amount
of data. Could these revolutions have put an undue stress on our brains that make NORMAL people go "tilt"? Of the
68% of the population with NORMAL ratios, could it be the folks in the First Standard Deviation (34%) below the mean of the
Bell Curve who are showing Affective Symptom? If we were bacteria, there would have been countless thousands of generations
of us in the last 150 years, but how many Human generations have there been? Maybe our brain has not been able to evolve fast
enough to keep up with the changes in our environment.
Perhaps we need to change the way we think, this would not
be disease, abnormality or deficit. We would not label these NORMAL people as being "sick". Maybe they wouldn't
label themselves as "sick" either