Commentary| Volume 66, ISSUE 3, P199-200, August 01, 2009

Where's the Fun in That? Broadening the Focus on Reward Function in Depression

  • Erika E. Forbes
    Address reprints requests to Erika E. Forbes, M.S., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, WPIC—Loeffler 319, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
    Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Search for articles by this author
      In the search for the neural substrates of depression, some recent work has suggested that the disruption of reward processing occurs as part of the essential pathophysiology of the disorder. Depression has long been conceptualized as a disorder of dysregulated positive affect and unusual reward processing (
      • Forbes E.E.
      • Dahl R.E.
      Neural systems of positive affect: Relevance to understanding child and adolescent depression?.
      ), and affective neuroscience findings have begun to support this perspective. Research on reward represents a shift away from a focus primarily on aspects of depression related to negative affect and threat processing. More important, this research direction could offer the potential to develop treatments that target reward-related circuits and thereby offer hope to those who exhibit dysfunction in those circuits.
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