The Use of Non-Human Animals in the Study of Human Mood Disorders

The use of non-human animals in the study of human mood disorders

In this essay, I will discuss how far Julie’s scepticism and belief that the study or understanding of non-human animals is irrelevant to understanding and treating mental health issues that affect humans is justified. I will also look at whether animal studies have contributed to our understanding and treatment of human mood disorders and will consider the contributions and limitations of animal studies, for the overall understanding of mood disorders.
Research has shown that all human races and cultures experience similar emotions such as grief. And although cultural experience often creates striking differences between displays of emotions they all have the same biological basis (Datta, 2010a, p.4). “The evolutionary stance suggests that non-human animals, our evolutionary relatives, experience emotions to” (Datta, 2010a, p.5).In particular mammals such as rats and monkeys, experience emotions similar to that of humans with the same biological basis, that is their biological functioning dictates behaviour. Due to the similarity in emotional response systems animal models are often used by researchers interested in the neural bases of anxiety and depression (Datta, 2010b, p67).
Rat and mouse models have been used for a number of studies in relation to mood disorders, as SDK228 has shown. Mitra and Sapolsky 2008 (as cited in Datta 2010b, p.50) induced acute stress in rats with high levels of corticosterone this was to look at the possible link between stress and anxiety. Anxiety disorders in humans are often found to be related to stressful experiences. The induced stress in the rats triggered responses in the amygdala. The amygdala is an area that has shown abnormal activity in those with generalized anxiety disorder (Datta, 2010a, p.53). The results of the study suggested that short-term intense stress had an effect on the amygdala and could induce long-term anxiety such as Post Traumatic...