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The synaptic space between two neurons is shown. Some neurotransmitters that have been released into the synapse are attaching to receptors while others undergo reuptake into the axon terminal.
Reuptake involves moving a neurotransmitter from the synapse back into the axon terminal from which it was released.

Neuronal communication is often referred to as an electrochemical event. The movement of the action potential down the length of the axon is an electrical event, and movement of the neurotransmitter across the synaptic space represents the chemical portion of the process.

Neurotransmitters and drugs

There are several different types of neurotransmitters released by different neurons, and we can speak in broad terms about the kinds of functions associated with different neurotransmitters ( [link] ). Much of what psychologists know about the functions of neurotransmitters comes from research on the effects of drugs in psychological disorders. Psychologists who take a biological perspective    and focus on the physiological causes of behavior assert that psychological disorders like depression and schizophrenia are associated with imbalances in one or more neurotransmitter systems. In this perspective, psychotropic medications can help improve the symptoms associated with these disorders. Psychotropic medications are drugs that treat psychiatric symptoms by restoring neurotransmitter balance.

Major neurotransmitters and how they affect behavior
Neurotransmitter Involved in Potential Effect on Behavior
Acetylcholine Muscle action, memory Increased arousal, enhanced cognition
Beta-endorphin Pain, pleasure Decreased anxiety, decreased tension
Dopamine Mood, sleep, learning Increased pleasure, suppressed appetite
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) Brain function, sleep Decreased anxiety, decreased tension
Glutamate Memory, learning Increased learning, enhanced memory
Norepinephrine Heart, intestines, alertness Increased arousal, suppressed appetite
Serotonin Mood, sleep Modulated mood, suppressed appetite

Psychoactive drugs can act as agonists or antagonists for a given neurotransmitter system. Agonists are chemicals that mimic a neurotransmitter at the receptor site and, thus, strengthen its effects. An antagonist    , on the other hand, blocks or impedes the normal activity of a neurotransmitter at the receptor. Agonist and antagonist drugs are prescribed to correct the specific neurotransmitter imbalances underlying a person’s condition. For example, Parkinson's disease, a progressive nervous system disorder, is associated with low levels of dopamine. Therefore dopamine agonists, which mimic the effects of dopamine by binding to dopamine receptors, are one treatment strategy.

Certain symptoms of schizophrenia are associated with overactive dopamine neurotransmission. The antipsychotics used to treat these symptoms are antagonists for dopamine—they block dopamine’s effects by binding its receptors without activating them. Thus, they prevent dopamine released by one neuron from signaling information to adjacent neurons.

In contrast to agonists and antagonists, which both operate by binding to receptor sites, reuptake inhibitors prevent unused neurotransmitters from being transported back to the neuron. This leaves more neurotransmitters in the synapse for a longer time, increasing its effects. Depression, which has been consistently linked with reduced serotonin levels, is commonly treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). By preventing reuptake, SSRIs strengthen the effect of serotonin, giving it more time to interact with serotonin receptors on dendrites. Common SSRIs on the market today include Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft. The drug LSD is structurally very similar to serotonin, and it affects the same neurons and receptors as serotonin. Psychotropic drugs are not instant solutions for people suffering from psychological disorders. Often, an individual must take a drug for several weeks before seeing improvement, and many psychoactive drugs have significant negative side effects. Furthermore, individuals vary dramatically in how they respond to the drugs. To improve chances for success, it is not uncommon for people receiving pharmacotherapy to undergo psychological and/or behavioral therapies as well. Some research suggests that combining drug therapy with other forms of therapy tends to be more effective than any one treatment alone (for one such example, see March et al., 2007).


Glia and neurons are the two cell types that make up the nervous system. While glia generally play supporting roles, the communication between neurons is fundamental to all of the functions associated with the nervous system. Neuronal communication is made possible by the neuron’s specialized structures. The soma contains the cell nucleus, and the dendrites extend from the soma in tree-like branches. The axon is another major extension of the cell body; axons are often covered by a myelin sheath, which increases the speed of transmission of neural impulses. At the end of the axon are terminal buttons that contain synaptic vesicles filled with neurotransmitters.

Neuronal communication is an electrochemical event. The dendrites contain receptors for neurotransmitters released by nearby neurons. If the signals received from other neurons are sufficiently strong, an action potential will travel down the length of the axon to the terminal buttons, resulting in the release of neurotransmitters into the synapse. Action potentials operate on the all-or-none principle and involve the movement of Na + and K + across the neuronal membrane.

Different neurotransmitters are associated with different functions. Often, psychological disorders involve imbalances in a given neurotransmitter system. Therefore, psychotropic drugs are prescribed in an attempt to bring the neurotransmitters back into balance. Drugs can act either as agonists or as antagonists for a given neurotransmitter system.

Personal application queation

Have you or someone you know ever been prescribed a psychotropic medication? If so, what side effects were associated with the treatment?

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Questions & Answers

importance of teaching and learning?
Lerato Reply
we need to know the human mind and behavior and how it works. this can make us successful in our jobs because we know what to do to please the people or to catch them lying etc.
carolline Reply
is a Greek word for soul
scientific study of the human behavior
Humans are extremely inconsistent at catching out liars. Human intuition and lie detection methods are prone to all kinds of biases. Always follow the evidence and don't let your emotions influence your rationality.
hello everyone, i was just wondering i have to pick a theoretical perspective to describe a mental disorder, i have picked Anti social personality disorder and was going to use the biomedical model to explain it. does anyone here regard aspd as a neurobiological disorder? kind regards.
niamh Reply
is anti social personality disorder a neurobiological illness?
rationalisation, displacement and reaction formation
Mary Reply
only a perspective of what we have pursued till now as an experience
what is the meaning of pysche?
Christine Reply
The meaning of psyche is Mind
Friends can anyone please tell me, why the study of psyche is so important?
Well in Greek, it means "soul, spirit, the mind, or the invisible animating entity which occupies the physical body".
Friends can anyone please tell me, why the study of psyche is so important?
Friends please tell me how to counsel a student who does not want to change their lives but are comfortable in the same life situation?
I think it's such an important study because it's one if those rare things that can't be understood in the conventional manner. The mind (not the brain, but the soul and spirit), cannot be studied physically, or through the use of sight, touch, smell, taste, or hearing.
Much focus and attention would have to be put into it to understand it, and it can't be fully understood because everyone's different and subjected to different circumstances, and we live an ever-changing world. It's important because it helps to develop spiritual, mental, and emotional intelligence
is humanities a good stream? is there scope for a subject like psychology in the future. is it a good choice?
amrita Reply
is humanities a good subject?
Sure it is.
you gonna opt for humanities as long as you don't want to pursue psychology in BSc honours , you'll be able to pursue BA psychology only. So if you want to pursue BSc then go for Science stream only.
Morning everyone. How can you help a person who can't stop musterbating?
Ntando Reply
find a different activity to divert the need to masturbate
masturbation is a need u cant stop it
Try positive punishment then transition to negative punishment
It probably has something to do with the environment one grew up in and their genetics that caused their puberty to have this psychological effect on them.
trying to keep yourself busy with stuffs you love doing the most.like reading or listening to music or sports
addiction and attachment issues do go hand in hand
stop watching pornography if you do; it leads you to fantasizing via masturbation. If you are a Christian, try indulging is spirituality (music and prayrer) before your bed time.
don't stop watching anything but instead pay attention to yourself and be conscious enough of what happens inside your brain or how the thought process goes that leads you to masturbating
Hello everyone have a nice day
internal for example a times when when I watched a pornography movie I end up thinking about it a lot so what I used to stop it is to create something in my mind that can ever exist in real life. I can create a story for about a week in my mind just to forget about it and it actually helps me
@mary charm story construction is helpful but then it open up on doorways for a new problem or addiction per say since it gives boost to the overexaggeration of reality which is not right, instead try to jot down what do you feel, be it digitised or normal writing. painting it also helps.
Marriage is the only solution guys.You can't do it if you get 'it'
I agree philip Nyenze. in addition to self control
Hello y'all! I'd like to start by saying, Marriage isn't a solution for everyone. We all have differences across the board, mental, spiritual and physical. Personally marriage has fixed it for me but not for the reason you'd think. In fact the complete opposite. I found myself with a partner who's..
... spiritual views and mental issues (depression) caused my partner to be very distant physically and it caused so much heartbreak and pain within myself and in turn made my mental health to whirlwind out of control. it took 4 years to get through it but I concentrated on my love for my partner...
.... outside of the bedroom because I wanted them completely. through trials and error I think I finally got myself in a good place. I don't need to masturbate because even though the hormones are rushing within me and I want to tackle my partner down, my soulmate shines through brighter than that..
... gorgeous body.
You have to stop thinking about the filling that u can get from musturbation and get a partner if only you are 18 years and above.
Unless it's a chronic problem like they are addicted to it and do it all the time, then let them be. Masterbation is a natural thing there's nothing wrong with it and it has many health benefits. As long as it isn't a chronic case they're be fine.
how natural is it?...this i just a formed habit. it takes 3weeks(21)days to form an habit...if youve done it more than 21days,admit its your habit...same it can take 21days to end a formed habit.if you've wanted to stop this habit,contact me personally i'll guide you through
hi how to join conversation?
Jason Reply
i don't know
How can you say that your bestfriend is true to you?
Azeneth Reply
why is my mom so mean?
Krista Reply
Hello Krista! Idk what made you think that ur mom is mean, but trust me, that's just not true. She really loves u and cares for u, but it's just that her way of caring is different than others. Ik it sounds mean, but deep inside her heart, she loves u a lot, just like all moms love their children.
perhaps, but if you could elaborate on what exactly she does that is demeaning, because sometimes some lessons that are best learned are through a tough and disciplined manner, most likely she really loves you and wants you to learn the lesson once, so you won't have to find it out the hard way
I have been assigned to an emotional disturbed student. She seemed fit first but you notice she interrupts or teases other students.would you work with this student an class to improve the situation?
Hello ! I think that she's kind of person that shows her bad side before the good. In other words "if you gonna love me ,first you should accept my bad side" These kind of person have the purest love ,once you get through their bad side , it demand some patience and emotional control but , It worth.
difficult question...ask from your father
We can't know for sure. Whatever decisions your mom makes at the time are her best choices to fulfill her needs, in a way, so her meanness probably in relation to her own prioritization of needs, upbringing, temperament.
Also, it's likely part of who you are, as well. By growing up with her, you're likely more vulnerable to her attacks, and they trigger you easily. These are both things that could potentially change, but not without a lot of work
Hope this helped! I'm no therapist or psychologist, so take what I say with a grain of salt
Rge only one onbthis planet have the ability to be with u whatever happens
What is the relationship between physical development and motor development
philip Reply
what is memory
Devyani Reply
the faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information. "I've a great memory for faces" something remembered from the past; a recollection.
what is the difference between Counsellor and Psychologist?
One talks you through your problem helping you solve them on your own (and vent out). The other writes a prescription for you and diagnoses the medical issue lying beneath (eg depression, anxiety)
A psychologist has been trained to look at behavioural aspect of mental problems rather than look at biomechanical perspectives. He is more likely to ask his patient about his past and his present behavior, his feelings and his problems to arrive at the root cause.......Read more
psychologists have a better understanding and awareness of behavioural reasons of mental problems than others.
Instead of the behavioural approach adopted by psychologists, a counsellor tries to encourage the patient to direct the treatment session. He creates an environment where the patient is able to clearly see through his own problems and the reasons underlying these problems........Read more
Thus, without relying anybody else, the patient is able to overcome his problems. In a broader sense, both psychologists and counselors both are specialists who try to solve mental problems of people through adopting different approaches.
@Kadir shuaib, I hope you understand l
Thanks to bits@Miraj Gillani But I've told that Counselling is applied psychology and counseling only effective when theory is applicable.
A memory is a faculty which permits human to situate his actions and his state in the times and space.
@vasu a psychologist can't give you a drug as a prescription, that's the job of a psychiatrist
hi I have dealing with a lady who is severely depressed .. she gets suicidal attacks even at the thought of her mother in law . I am working on realeasing her stress .. any other suggestions?
hi sriya.. try engazing her in some activity...like cooking,or any u like...make ppl appriciate her effort...plan such that one or other alawys keep appreciating her efforts...that will bring value to her own existence...but it will definetly take some time so u must have patience. tke cre champion.
ARJUN great idea.
Hey Sriya! U can take her 2 sum place where she can inhale some fresh air&feel good.&when she gets suicidal attacks 'bout her mom-in-law,u can try calming her down by saying that her mom-in-law wud also appreciate her works&she wud b sad if she knew that her daughter in law is unhappy.Gud luck,girl!
Idk about Drazy's comment, something that worked for me was to defy irrational thought patterns and watch out for them to defuse your own suicidal thoughts. Maybe find a focus to life completely independent of the MIL
Sriya she needs to do something that makes her happy. I used to spend time with a depressed lady I ask her if anything helped her. when she had anxiety attacks she said music. Whenever I could feel her starting to have an attack I'd hand her head phones along with her favorite music.
I asked her she said her husband she has anchored her entire happiness with her husband. she can't even move without him
I apologize Sriya I just joined the conversation, I don't know about her husband ; therefore I am not able to give suggestions.
@sriya you need to give her an insight about her own individuality so she could seperate herself mentally from her husband and see for herself what she is and where she is! you need to make her understand this that her husband and she herself are two both seperate individuals, may be meditation....
...can give her a new tangent to think and pursue reality as it, I use meditation alot on my clients to give them a fresh perception of reality...
Excellent point Priyank
thank you everyone I think I know what to do ..
Maybe there's a dependency on the husband, and has a bearing on the lady's relationship with her MIL? Like, her MIL is threatening to her
Exactly frootloop. Similar to changing a negative thought to a positive thought.
What is the deference between Counseling and Psychology?
I think Cindy and Arjun's answers are great. I'm no specialist, but having something private that she's not at war with and can appreciate (activity, hobby, music, etc) could definitely be helpful
hey mates..we r part of d universe and essence of universe is continuous activity..even stagnant water fouls..depresn over d top take self value...hence engazin in some purpose oriented work(activity )along with fellows appriciation(value) is two pronged strategy. but it all takes time.u need to b
smart n patience..as depressions dosnt have a face..!!! love u all
always make her to feel important
@First know the root cause of the issues she's been traumatized with..talk to her in her own language without any Prejudice let her confide in you then you can get the solutions...as the primary reason for depression is being lonely around your own people and house..an open ear to listen to ur silly
... stories piled up urges, desires a warm hug that human touch we loose over time... saying is easy but living in it is insane..we all need someone to dump our day with..make her realize the consequences if she does hurt herself or others..as u cannot be with them 24/7 so try instilling the...
...SELF ESTEEM AND BELIEF which she lost over time to her own people..ask her to do some activities which will earn money online and are fun while doing so...keep herself busy not sit and overthink on things!
Sriya. Give her a story.where you passed the same. If you dont have your own story,then create one. As you give the fake story you tend get more into her shooes.,such that u feel as if u had once being stressed and u overcame it.Make the story bitter that she even symphathizes with u.
....this way,your patient trusts you more. They believe if they do whatever u tell them they Must overcome their situations....i once told a patient,"if you feel urine and hold on for atleast 2hrs,u will forget all that"...he believed tht so he always drink alot of water to create the urge to urinat
...he started focusing on how to create urine in his bladder,and he forgot all tht was disturbing.....i nicknamed him "fish."...and am working a theory on the same case. i will post "The Fish theory" once am done with it...though i might change its title,....
importance of social psychology in the domain of education
solang Reply
Buddhist perspective on motivation..
Velda Reply
what is empirical observations
Denzel Reply
Empirical observation is a type of observation which is based on experiment not on theories. And this observation is not supported by scientific poof.
why we do dreams? please tell me
the thoughts which we stop thinking suddenly during day. they try to get out of our unconscious mind and they make a story which we term as dreams.
thank you
family members very good morning beautiful lady and family and my family and one that works
pls what's sociology of education
The sociology of education is the study of how public institutions and individual experiences affect education and its outcomes. It is mostly concerned with the public schooling systems of modern industrial societies, including the expansion of higher, further, adult, and continuing education. 

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