Adapting to stress: Understanding the neurobiology of resilience

"Adapting to Stress: Understanding the Neurobiology of Resilience," an article recently published in Behavioral Medicine, examines the way our bodies, specifically our brains, become "stress-resilient." There is a significant variation in the way individuals react and respond to extreme stress and adversity -- some individuals develop psychiatric conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder or major depressive disorder -- others recover from stressful experiences without displaying significant symptoms of psychological ill-health, demonstrating stress-resilience

To understand why some individuals exhibit characteristics of a resilient profile, the interplay between neurochemical, genetic, and epigenetic processes over time needs to be explained. In this review, the authors examine the hormones, neuropeptides, neurotransmitters, and neural circuits associated with resilience and vulnerability to stress-related disorders.

About the importance of their article, the authors state: "In a period of international conflict as well as domestic pressures within the NHS, the study of stress and resilience has again become a prescient topic for both military and medical communities. The experience of extreme or prolonged stress does not necessarily result in mental health problems, which is an increasingly overlooked point and one of real significance to the field of psychopathology. Scientific evidence has consistently shown us that a high number of individuals are able to overcome stress and adversity and to continue on with productive lives. In this review, we summarize some of the latest findings underlying the neurobiology of resilience, which we hope will advance the understanding and treatment of stress-related psychiatric disorders."

Carlos Osório, Thomas Probert, Edgar Jones, Allan H. Young, Ian Robbins. Adapting to Stress: Understanding the Neurobiology of Resilience. Behavioral Medicine, 2016; 1 DOI: 10.1080/08964289.2016.1170661