posted on May, 5 2018 @ 06:51 PM
Most people see pharmaceuticals as evil, but as usual, the truth is always a lot more grey (though on closer inspection, yields tiny squares that are
either black or white).
True greyness doesn't exist, but from an unsophisticated, ignoramus position (something we all experience relative to whatever field of inquiry
we're uneducated in) 'grey' as a genuinely real category can seem real. But I digress - I only went in this direction because too many people
interpret the metaphor of greyness as "moral relativism", which I certainly do not mean.
Rather, grey means "look deeper".
With pharmaceuticals, I find myself genuinely impressed by a new generation of antidepressants which, unlike the serotonin directed drugs, actually
work upon the molecular system which underlies positive feelings: the endo-opioid systems of the brain.
One such drug is buprenorphine, which acts upon a section of the periaqueductal grey that is now to be involved in the production of feelings of
sadness (the dorsomedial rostral PAG). This is a fairly profound finding, and so it is telling that the FDA did not permit longitudinal studies of
this drug for human depression, but as usual, the ambitious Israeli's did. and the results of 2014, and later on, a larger 2016 study, show that this
drug is more effective than serotonin inhibitors as relaxing what the neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp's collective body of work called the PANIC system.
Of course, one may well wonder whether the monstrously cynical and exploitative pharmaceutical industry - and the other powerful people which enable
them - want a drug that can actually help people get out of depression - but alas, this is the sort of world we live in. The Israeli's seem far more
ambitious - and desirous - to prove how "ahead" they are of everyone else in everything (the Jews have a lot of self-esteem). This clearly goes too
far in some areas (Netanyahu, the IDF, etc), but when it comes to academia, any lover of science should appreciate the openness of the Israeli
academic community in investigating substances, drugs and other novel techniques which existing powerful interests strive with all their might to
Anyways, the ingenious research of Jaak Panksepp into the subcortical roots of emotions has provided the key that is needed to understand human
“Specifically, an affective neuroscience approach to depression, has proposed “that sustained over activity of the PANIC and under activity of
the SEEKING and PLAY networks substantially contribute to depression.” When these emotional systems are out of balance, depression is likely to
occur.” – Kenneth L. Davis, Jaak Panksepp, The Emotional Foundations of Personality: A Neurobiological and Evolutionary Approach; pg. 263,
Another very interesting approach to treating depression - and again, this applies to those souls who are so far beyond being regulated by cognitions
that they really do need a more heavy-duty approach - is deep brain stimulation.
One study implanted electrodes into a deep brain nuclei called the nucleus accumbens which is involved in the 'desire' circuit, and after being
stimulated, suffers of major depression who DO NOT RESPOND TO ANY PHARMACOLOGICAL TREATMENT immediately began expressing desires to "do things" (one
person wished to go bowling again). This is a wonderful thing - especially given the vacuous and careless approaches of earlier psychiatric efforts at
stimulating the brain, this is an explicit targeting of cells in an area of the brain that is known to be distinctly involved in the affect of
Now, of course, this does not mean that one should become dependent on deep brain stimulation or pharmaceuticals, but it does offer tremendous
potential for those millions of people, and particularly those vulnerable to suicide (around 40,000 plus Americans commit suicide every year), who
feel that it is "impossible" to feel good again.
Not true. As science grows, its knowledge becomes more and more specific. As the brain begins to reveal more and more of its workings to the prying
eyes of human scientists, the possibilities for extinguishing suffering from the human species becomes more and more apparent.
The work of Panksepp will truly stand out, because now we know that perceptual states are dependent on affective states, which we know to be rooted in
specific brainstem nuclei where the relevant neuro-modulators are produced.
PLAY, SEEKING, and CARE constitute different pathways, and indeed, are basic mammalian modes of behaving in the world - hence its generalization as an
ACTION TENDENCY. That every mammal uses the same brain nuclei to mediate the same feeling states is an incredible finding, which not only helps us
recognize how much like other animals we are, but also helps do away with the lie that animals don't feel, and thus, aren't really PANICKING when
the are FEARFUL; or depressed because, as the quote above suggests, they are not being given any opportunity to develop their SEEKING circuitry, or
their PLAY circuitry, and instead are getting swamped by a PANIC system which, fundamentally suffers from being disconnected from others (of their
species; this applies to social mammals in particular).