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What part of the brain controls our mood?

Kelly Traver
Internal Medicine

The limbic system in the core of your brain houses a lot of mood-active structures. The amygdala, in the limbic system, is the center for emotionally charged memories and persistent negative thoughts. It is active during stress, anxiety, and depression. It sits conveniently beside the hippocampus, the part of the brain that serves long-term memory. The hippocampus is tightly connected to the hypothalamus, an important area in all sorts of body regulations. When you are stressed, anxious, or depressed, the hypothalamus tells the pituitary to tell the adrenal gland to produce cortisol. This hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is therefore a highway for the stress response as well as for depression and anxiety. Chronic activation of the adrenal gland has wide ramifications on your body's health. So, with depression, just as with stress, there is an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, a heart attack, a stroke, immune dysfunction, and obesity.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.