On the avoidance of harm…

There’s some fascinating stuff around about the relationship of depressive illness to strategies of harm avoidance:

Clinical depression is associated with two modulations occurring simultaneously and chronically, dysphoria and the generalized stress response. Dysphoria is a modulation that is part of the harm perception/avoidance axis. This is an emotion we all feel when we perceive a futility in our current behavior and experience disappointment. In contrast, we experience anger and aggression when the disappointment is perceived as being caused by an external source. When the disappointment causes dysphoria, the modulation shift increases behavioral inhibition, increases anticipation of harm, increases harm avoidance, increases introspection, decreases exploration of the environment, decreases reactivity to external stimuli, decreases appetite for food and decreases sexual appetite.

In short, it coordinates functions that allow us to retreat, introspect and to redirect our efforts in a more effective direction. In this instance, dysphoria facilitates adaptation to disappointment. []

I like that. Dysphoria faciliates adaptation to disappointment. Lots of interesting things fall out of investigations like these, but this sense of harm avoidance is the one that interests me most – that the depressive personality and the introverted personality are heavily connected. That the wallflower reacts to disappointment, attributed internally. Fascinating stuff.