Sapolsky Breaks Down Depression

Robert Sapol­sky, a Stan­ford biol­o­gist, is cur­rent­ly one of the most pub­licly acces­si­ble sci­ence writ­ers in the coun­try, per­haps best known for his book on stress, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. In the lec­ture above, Sapol­sky takes a hard look at depres­sion. The top­ic is a lit­tle heavy. I’ll grant that. But, it’s also impor­tant. As Sapol­sky is quick to point out, depres­sion is per­va­sive and get­ting worse. Cur­rent­ly, it’s the 4th great­est cause of dis­abil­i­ty world­wide, and it will soon become the 2nd. For Sapol­sky, depres­sion is deeply bio­log­i­cal; it is root­ed in biol­o­gy, just like, say, dia­betes. Here, you will see how depres­sion changes the body. When depressed, our brains func­tion dif­fer­ent­ly while sleep­ing, our stress response goes way up 24/7, our bio­chem­istry lev­els change, etc. Giv­en the per­va­sive­ness of depres­sion, this video is well worth a watch.

Also don’t miss Sapol­sky’s amaz­ing Stan­ford course, Intro­duc­tion to Human Biol­o­gy. It’s equal­ly worth your time. It’s housed in our col­lec­tion of 750 Free Cours­es Online.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.