Activation density heat maps showing the electrical deep brain stimulation. Credit: Hartmann CJ, Chaturvedi A and Lujan JL.
Activation density heat maps showing the electrical deep brain stimulation. Credit: Hartmann CJ, Chaturvedi A and Lujan JL.

Addiction, Depression, PTSD, and Mental Health, with Heather Berlin

Activation density heat maps showing electrical deep brain stimulation. Credit: Hartmann CJ, Chaturvedi A and Lujan JL [CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

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About This Episode

Everyone is dealing with something, and we all can improve our mental health, according to neuroscientist and All-Stars host Heather Berlin, PhD. On this episode of StarTalk All-Stars, Heather is back alongside comic co-host Chuck Nice to answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries about the nuances of mental health and mental illness. Heather helps us understand that there’s no such thing as normal and explains the spectrum of mental health. You’ll find out how it’s decided if something is an illness and at what point symptoms dictate a medical diagnosis. Uncover details about the current opioid crisis in the United States and why the key to combating it requires us to view it as a medical and public health issue – not a criminal one. We discuss the War on Drugs and why taking away the blame can help shift the conversation and improve the treatment. We learn how genetics can play a factor in someone’s susceptibility to addiction. You’ll also learn if depression can be pinpointed to a single source in the brain, and how long it will take until we have individualized treatment for mental illness. Heather tells us about electrical brain stimulation the treatment of depression, although Chuck isn’t buying her description that it’s a “minimally invasive” brain surgery. Discover if mental illness can be observed externally through EEGs and fMRIs. Find out why it’s important to hear the patient’s subjective point of view of what’s happening and how talk therapy can re-train your brain to alter your mental association with traumatic events. Investigate the way the brain functions when suffering from PTSD. You’ll hear about the link between the brain and addiction, how the mental imprint of childhood impacts adulthood, and how we can provide mental health help for those dealing with a natural disaster or life-threatening event. All that, plus, we discuss whether there’s a way to become cognizant enough to control your brain and make decisions as they arise instead of running on “auto-pilot.” 

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Addiction, Depression, PTSD, and Mental Health, with Heather Berlin.

In This Episode

  • Host

    Heather Berlin

    Heather Berlin, PhD
    All-Stars host, Neuroscientist, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY
  • Co-Host

    Chuck Nice

    Chuck Nice
    Comedian

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