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Treatment for mental problems different for right- and left-handed people, says study

Posted on 07-10-2018 Posted in Mental Health, Mental Illness - 0 Comments

Treatment for mental problems different for right- and left-handed people, says study

Different regions in a human brain perform different functions. Keeping this point in mind, a recent research by the Cornell University in New York has revealed that the mental problem treatment given to right-handed people may not be effective for the left-handed ones. The study, published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B in June 2018, was conducted to analyze the mental health treatment involving mild electric stimulation of one hemisphere of the brain. In the process, the research team found a new model of emotion in the human brain.

As part of the study, 25 healthy participants were selected and given painless electric current to excite both the hemispheres of their brain. This activity was conducted every day for 20 minutes for a period of five days. The participants were asked about the extent to which they felt such approach-related emotions as pride or passion. On the basis of their answers, the researchers found that:

  1. The right-handed people who received the charge on their left hemisphere, reported positive emotions, similar to the left-handers receiving it in the right hemisphere.
  2. Righties receiving treatment in the right and lefties in the left reported no change or decrease in such emotions.

According to an old model, it is believed that each hemisphere in human brain is specialized to generate one type of emotions. But Daniel Casasanto, Ph.D., an associate professor of human development and psychology at Cornell University, disagrees. The studies conducted in the past showed that left brain processes approach-oriented emotions like happiness and anger, while the right brain processes avoidance-oriented emotions like disgust and fear. However, the current study included all the healthy, young and right-handed subjects, thereby refuting the previously-established theory.

Casasanto shared that zapping the left brain does not work as a treatment for anxiety and depression for left-handers as these people need stimulation in their right brain. Adding further, he said that the treatment process may not work for people who don’t have a strong hand.

Neural therapy similar to brain stimulation

During the study, it was also found that neural therapy treatment is similar to the brain-zapping experiment that uses mild electrical stimulation of the brain’s left hemisphere to improve approach-related emotions. Neural therapy, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is used for the treatment of anxiety and depression.

Joseph Hellige, a professor of psychology at the Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, said that there is a difference in ways in which human hands are used by different individuals, the dominance they exert and the way it affects the cognitive aspects of brain asymmetry. The dominant hand is used to make skilled, approach-based movements while the other hand is used in supporting functions. The researchers of the current study concluded that further research is needed to determine the exact ways in which electrical stimulation affects an individual’s recovery from anxiety and depression.

Seeking help is important

 One must understand that mental health issues can affect any individual from any section of the society. Therefore, considering oneself immune to these illnesses is a misconception. It is important to stay aware about all possible symptoms of mental disorders so that it gets easier to diagnose them and get the best mental health treatment at the right time.

If you know someone battling anxiety, depression or any other mental health problem, Sovereign Health of Florida can help. Our Mental Health Treatment Centers at both Fort Myers and Pompano Beach facilities provide the best possible support and counseling to enable recovery. For complete details about our residential mental health treatment programs, call us at our 24/7 helpline number or chat online with our representatives.

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