Monday, January 06, 2014

Resiliency

As is the norm in my car, I turn on the engine and NPR springs to life. In this case, WUSF, the affiliate, usually broadcasts Morning Addiction or All Things Considered. If I leave for lunch, the show varies, depending on when the urge to get some food strikes. Today, Fresh Air was what I heard on the drive across campus to get a warm coat and some lunch with my dining dollars.

Terry Gross was interviewing a guest (and at :40 past the hour, well into the interview), one who has myriad anxieties and phobias. Terry asked the man how people survive with them, and they discussed how some people are defeated by these stressors, while others seem to make do. The word bandied about was resilience. However, the guest, Scott Stossel, stated that this trait seems to be tied to levels of a neurotransmitter, Neuropeptide Y. Those who seem to have higher levels deal with stress much better, and even the military is beginning to test the levels of NP-Y in candidates for the various special forces.

It was very interesting to hear a take on why some people are more easily defeated when the poop hits the fan, and others just accept it and move on.

The interesting thing is that when I got back to my desk, I started looking things up. Now, my Google is really refined to many months of searching medical journals and fleshing out medical content. I got several articles from journals that attribute NP-Y to things avoiding obesity and alcoholism, among other things, and that a lack of it can be why many people get depressed.

All these years, I've been called resilient and I attributed it to the way I was raised and who raised me. It turns out that some of it is completely the result of neurotransmitters!

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