While mood disorders involve the brain, they can be better understood from interactions with other physiological systems as well as with behavior and social interactions. This has invoked researchers to develop a network model for diseases such as generalized depression and bipolar disorder where 'symptoms' may themselves have an effect on the system, thus causing feedback. For instance, a depressed mood may cause subjects to become less active, have less physical exercise, and see less friends, but each of these behavior changes will tend to affect mood negatively too, thus creating a positive feedback that may drive a subject further into the depressed state.
We work with a team of psychologists and psychiatrists on constructing network models of depression and other psychiatric disorders, that can better explain tipping points and transitions. Moreover we analyze data to find indicators of resilience that are predictive of how close a subject is to a transition.
Critical slowing down as early warning for the onset and termination of depression
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [Full text]