The Depressed Brain: Psychobiology of Depression and Implications for Treatment

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Friday, May 16, 2014

9:00am-4:00pm  6 Hrs CE Credit

Alliant International University

San Francisco, CA 94133

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is one of the most prevalent mental disorders in America and  worldwide, with at least half of those affected suffering from recurrent or chronic forms of the disorder.  This presentation describes the genetic, epigenetic and neurobiological factors, coupled with the role of environmental stressors, that guide our understanding and treatment of major depression.  It identifies key stress-related changes in the brain that accompany depression in which the stress response systems are malfunctioning and approaches to repair these malfunctioning systems.  In addition, it describes the involvement of attachment dynamics in these stress-related changes. 


Surprisingly, much of this information has yet to make its way into clinical practice and approaches to treatment.  And yet, several non-pharmacological treatment modalities emerge from this level of understanding.  Dr. Graves provides participants with enough of the basics of neuroscience to understand relevant concepts from the contemporary literature, and participants will leave not only with a better understanding of MDD but also with a set of interventions to better treat depressed individuals that can be used the next day.  Donít miss this opportunity to update your understanding of major depression and how to treat it more effectively!


Learning Objectives

  •          Describe the relationship between the genetics of the serotonin transporter and external stressors in the development of major depression.
  •          Describe the developmental impairment of the brain that plays a critical role in the dysregulation of the neuroendocrine stress response system.
  •          Identify treatment interventions that may repair the genetically driven developmental impairment that leads to major depression.
  •          Describe the involvement of the neuroendocrine stress response system in the development of a recurrent or chronic course of major depression.
  •          Describe the role of early attachment pattern and its interaction with serotonin transporter genetics as a risk factor for major depression.
  •          Identify at least four novel approaches to treating major depression without the use of medications by addressing a malfunctioning neuroendocrine stress response system.
  •          Describe the antidepressant role of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and how it can be manipulated with and without drugs in the treatment of depression.

James S. Graves, PhD, PsyD
is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Pasadena, CA.  Dr. Graves holds degrees from Duke University (PhD, Human Physiology) and California Graduate Institute (Doctor of Psychology). In an earlier 15-year career he worked as an acedmic physiologist & professor in a medical school environmnet.  Dr. Graves currenlty provides psychotherapy for adults, adolscents and couples in a general practice.  Dr. Graves also specializes in severe trauma-related disordrers, depressive disorders and relationship issues.