Does depression cause permanent brain damage? by Joyce Schenkein
Answer by Joyce Schenkein:
Robert Sapolsky answered your question with Baboons.
These animals have a dominance hierarchy- with the alpha male always bullying the other animals in the troop.
Sapolsky was able to obtain blood samples from various members in a troop and discovered that those on the lower end of the hierarchy were drowning in cortisol, the stress hormone. He also discovered that prolonged exposure to cortisol is destructive of nerve cells in the hippocampus.
Here’s a fascinating video on the long term effects of stress. If you’ve never heard of Robert Sapolsky, he’s someone to add to your list of favorites and to learn Neuroscience from.