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But they were cured—the stress symptoms reversed—when researchers brought in what they called a ‘monkey hug therapist,’ an older monkey who constantly hugged and cuddled the stressed-out baby monkeys. So what was going on? The hugging broke the feedback loop, sending the message ‘No more steroids needed,’ damage over and done with! The chronically elevated CRF levels came down.
...stress increases with increased steroid production. Depressed people typically have high levels of these stress steroids. In fact, depressed people are in a chronic state of ACTH activation because of a disrupted feedback loop that fails to signal when there are sufficient levels of steroid in the blood. So the CRF-ACTH axis just keeps pumping out more and more steroids. Autopsies almost always show a tenfold higher level of CRF in the cerebrospinal fluid of those who killed themselves compared to those who died from other causes.