Neurobiology of Frustration: Longest Pain – 4 minutes. Frustration can have a painful effect on the brain. This experience can be explained by the activity of certain neurotransmitters, such as GABA, which change significantly when a person experiences this feeling. Research explains how these changes take place.
The neuroscience underlying frustration provides us with another example that there are certain aspects of our life that the brain perceives particularly painfully. This is why some people inexplicably suffer longer than others when they lose an opportunity or lose confidence in someone.
You may also have certain expectations of yourself; perhaps you assume that you will never fail at things that you are usually very good at, and perhaps you think that all that you have today, will be there tomorrow. But sometimes things change and the bubble bursts. When this happens, you lose some of your confidence, and this perceives the brain as a warning sign of your survival.
When you lose, if something really waited, or your boss suddenly fires you, or your girlfriend betrays you, it obviously makes you hurt. This is a kind of attack on everything that was important to you. So what happens in the brain when this happens?
“Our experience consists of illusions, not accumulated wisdom.”
– Joseph Roux-
Neuroscience behind disappointment
Behind the frustration is more and more research in neuroscience due to the increased interest in this topic. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and neurologists have wondered for years why it hurts so much to be disappointed. Of course, disappointment is also part of every person’s personality.
Those who have gone through this multiple times become incredulous. Frustration lowers the energy of hope a little, which can make you be more careful about your expectations of others. However, something has to happen in the brain for this experience to become so clear. Let’s see what science has to say about this.
Neurotransmitters and frustration
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit signals to nerves. Thanks to neurochemistry, you have the ability to feel, think, and behave in certain ways. An interesting fact is that it is very specific neurotransmitters that completely control your mood, including dopamine and serotonin.
An interesting study by Roberto Malinov of the Department of Neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego shows that feelings of frustration are controlled by two specific neurotransmitters. These are glutamic acid and GABA, which are found in the midbrain.
Midbrain and secretion of glutamic acid and GABA
The midbrain is one of the oldest parts of the brain. Among other things, we know that it is part of the emotional processes that underlie decision-making. But while its main function has mostly positive effects by increasing motivation, it also has a dark side.
For it to function properly, the secretion of glutamic acid and GABA must be balanced and correct. Thus, the stronger the neurotransmitter flow into the midbrain, the stronger the feeling of frustration. Conversely, the lower the secretion of GABA and glutamic acid, the less this emotion affects the brain.
Depression in relation to the neuroscience behind the disappointment
Roberto Malinov also pointed out another important problem in this regard occasion. There is evidence that the consequences of long-term disappointment lead to depressive disorders in many cases. This means that with intense secretion of GABA and glutamic acid in the brain, the risk of disease increases.
High midbrain activity caused by over-secretion of these neurotransmitters also causes the patient to become obsessed with certain thoughts, memories or old painful experiences. It becomes more difficult to move on, and it is at this stage that the person begins to experience emotional stagnation and pain.
But the discovery The link between glutamic acid and GABA in frustration and depression also opens the door to new therapies. More recently, it was thought that antidepressants and serotonin regulation could help balance the relationship between GABA and glutamic acid. But it is now clear that although this results in improvement, it can still have various side effects.
So the challenge now is to develop a treatment that works specifically with some transmitters but not others. Thus, doctors can give the correct answers to those patients who, due to various neurochemical changes, experience certain situations more intensely. As you may have noticed, the neuroscience behind frustration is a very interesting subject.