More than 100 types of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters are found throughout the human body. They are crucial for maintaining brain functioning and help control various body processes, including hunger, respiration, and heart rate.
In addition to regulating physiological processes, neurotransmitters also serve psychological purposes, including learning and controlling emotions like fear, pleasure, and happiness. Read on to learn more about the link between neurotransmitters and mental health.
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What are Neurotransmitters?
Neurotransmitters are components of the nervous system, and your body cannot function without them. They are essential to many body processes and human development as they enhance and balance signals in the brain.
Neurotransmitters transport chemical “messages” from one neuron (nerve cell) to the subsequent target cell. The target cell may be a gland, muscle, or nerve cell.
Our brains constantly control everything from breathing to heartbeat to learning and concentration levels with the help of billions of neurotransmitter molecules.
What Do Neurotransmitters Do?
The nervous system regulates the body’s organs and participates in almost every physical process. Neurotransmitters in the brain are crucial components of this system.
- A nerve cell sends an impulse, showing the need to deliver a message to another cell.
- The impulse stimulates the release of neurotransmitters.
- Neurotransmitters move from the initial cell to the target cell and deliver the message.
In short, neurotransmitters help your cells communicate. They move between cells, bind to particular brain receptors, and cause the target cells to act when they connect. There are various receptors that each neurotransmitter binds to. Dopamine molecules, for instance, bind to dopamine receptors.
Neurotransmitters are essential for the brain to regulate various crucial processes, such as:
- Blood pressure and heartbeat.
- Movement of muscles.
- Feelings, memories, learning, and thoughts.
- Aging, healing, and sleep.
- Stress reaction.
- Hormone control.
- Senses (reaction to what you see, hear, feel, touch, and taste).
Consult a physician to obtain medicine or psychological support for any mental health issue.
Types of Neurotransmitters
Over 100 neurotransmitters have been identified by specialists, and more are being found. These neurotransmitters are divided into three main categories according to their function:
- Inhibitory neurotransmitters lessen the likelihood that the target cell will act by preventing the chemical message from being passed further.
- Excitatory neurotransmitters compel a target cell to activate by firing off neurons that continue to transmit the chemical message.
- Modulatory neurotransmitters can simultaneously communicate with numerous neurons.
These three categories have hundreds of different neurotransmitters. The most common ones are acetylcholine, endorphins, dopamine, GABA, and serotonin.
What Role Do Neurotransmitters Play in Mental Health?
A neurotransmitter imbalance contributes to mental health problems. If the chemical mechanism of communication between the brain and body is disrupted in any manner, patients are likely to experience one or more of the symptoms that we commonly connect with mental illnesses.
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Neurotransmitters Related to Mental Health
The most well-known neurotransmitters associated with mental disorders are described in the following section.
GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid)
Numerous important molecules that, when produced in the wrong amounts, are likely to cause mental health issues. However, health professionals are still researching the complex connections between neurotransmitters and mental health.
If you have any mental health problems, get professional help. Contact MEDvidi doctors if you experience any disturbing symptoms.