The brain is the most complex andcritical organ in the body. It controls every action, movement, and thought ofhumans (Herzog 12).
“Brain chemicals communicate with all organ systems. Thereis no separating the brain and the body – what affects the body affects yourbrain” (Dahia 29). When someone has borderline personality disorder,depression, or any other neurological disability, many scientists have characterizedit immediately as an imbalance in the brain. (Bailey 42).
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Is it really thechemicals that need balancing? (Bailey 42). “Research shows that psychiatricdisorders may be related to an imbalance of natural chemicals between nervecells and the brain. … The general idea is that a deficiency of certainneurotransmitters (chemical messengers) at synapses, or tiny gaps, between neuronsinterferes with the transmission of nerve impulses, causing or contributing todepression” (Arkowitz 66)or other neurological disorders. “Acetylcholine(nicotine-related), dopamine (emotion), and norepinephrine (depression) can actto stimulate or depress brain function” (Publishers Weekly 121). If brainchemicals are either increased or decreased by proteins modifying theirproduction, it can be considered to be a neurological imbalance (American Friendsof Tel Aviv University). Neurotransmitters are the brainchemicals that are in constant movement to communicate information throughoutour brain between neurons. If any type of miscommunication occurs, it createsan unbalanced charge, also known as an action potential. Across the cellmembrane, the concentration of ions (atoms or molecules with unbalanced charges)cause action potential (U.
S. National Library of Medicine). It is said thatneurotransmitter receptors are involved with the main causes of depression(Richelson 18). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to control mood,appetite, and sleep, and is lower in people with depression. Medications toelevate serotonin levels act by blocking the reuptake (reabsorption of asecreted substance by the nerve ending of a neurotransmitter that it has secreted)of serotonin by the neuron being sent (Richelson 19). Another chemical that plays arole in the potential of imbalances is dopamine. Dopamine controls the constantflow of psychological information to the front of the brain. Emotion andthought is controlled in the front of the brain; therefore, scientists suggestthat a lack of dopamine can be a sign of mental illnesses like schizophreniaand attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (Gruber 863).
The neurotransmitter that isproven to be the most common in the human brain is glutamate. Unlike theothers, glutamate has uses throughout the entire brain and nervous system. As acrucial role during early brain development, glutamate is a major excitatorytransmitter (Yudkoff 227). Along with adolescent development, it also assistsin learning and memory.
Problems in using glutamate are responsible for mentaldisorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, autism, andschizophrenia (National Institute of Mental Health). Fear is inevitable, though howdoes it occur? The amygdala transmitter is a strong component in the learningof how to, or not to fear. “Between depressed and mentally healthy individuals,particular areas of the brain differ in size. For example, the amygdala, whichresponds to the emotional significance of events, tends to be smaller indepressed people than in those without the disorders” (Arkowitz 67).
Anxietydisorders, like phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are causedby size differences of the brain’s amygdala. “Recent studies suggest that thatlongstanding findings of abnormal amygdala morphology in autism spectrumdisorder (ASD) may be related to symptoms of anxiety” (Herrington 3683). TheJournal of Autism & Developmental Disorder is an up and coming informativetext to be released in late 2017. For this journal, fifty-three children withASD underwent structural MRIs to compare their anxiety levels.
Based on theirneurological structure, while considering age and intellectual level, the ASDand anxiety group showed decreased amygdala volume compared to the ASD withoutanxiety group (Herrington 3684). The smaller the amygdala (almond-shape set ofneurons), the higher the chance of acquiring anxiety, PTSD, or other fearrelated mental issues (Herrington 3689). Potassium,calcium and magnesium ions that are a part of your brain cells change duringsleep and wakefulness, but scientists also believed neurons initiated thosechanges. “Psychiatric disorders and sleep relate in important ways” (USNational Library of Medicine).
Jerome M. Siegel organized information fromstudies showing how brain neurons and neurotransmitters are engaged in the mostactivity while the human or animal is awoken (Sanders). What surprises many, though,is the fact that neurological transmission of chemicals is sustained throughoutthe entire sleep cycle (Sanders). Continuing with Canada’s most common mentalillnesses, people who suffer from generalized anxiety are not proven to haveany deficiency in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep (Sanders).
The dimensions ofthe amygdala transmitter do not transform sleep quality. Abrain region that focuses solely on creating and recalling memories is known asthe hippocampus. When damaged, it cannot create new memories for a person, yetthey will continue to remember past memories and skills (Hesman 8).
The nervesignaling protein linked to memory loss (from amnesia to dementia) goes by thename of tomosyn (Hesman 9). This protein increases or decreases the productionof neurological chemicals used for memory. Mood disorders may occur from thehippocampus as well, through it is in control of a major mood circuit calledthe hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (National Institute of MentalHealth).
Dueto the reconstruction of neurotransmitters by their accompanied proteins,chemicals become uneven, or as many scientists would say– imbalanced. Thehuman brain contains an abundance of complex chemicals and sections, each ofthem with their own crucial function. An absence or modification of a chemicalfound within the brain can make a life-changing difference in personality orlearning (American Friends of Tel Aviv University).