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Psych: Neurotransmitters

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  • Biology Neurotransmitters

  • Pair-share

    How do you think chemicals in our bodies impact our behavior?(Discuss with your table partner).

  • Nervous SystemQ: Why do psychologists study the brain and the

    nervous system?

    A: Some biological functions underly human behavior, and in order to form a fuller understanding of ourselves,

    its important to recognize what aspects of our behavior we can attribute to our own bodies.

    Psychologists who examine behavioral problems based on the ways in which our bodies affect our behavior are using the biological or neuroscience approach. Psychologists who specialize in studying the effects of biological functions on

    behavior are called behavioral neuroscientists.

  • Nervous System

    You have about 1 trillion nerve

    cells in your body, and 100 chemicals that

    transfer messages

    between those nerves.

    (Those chemicals are called

    neurotransmitters).

  • Nerve Ending (outgoing)

    Neurotransmitters

    Neurotransmitters stimulate the nerve endings, or transmit electrical impulses from the brain to the body.

    Nerve Ending (incoming)

    Neurotransmitters(Chemicals that travel

    between neurons)

    (Axon)

    (Dendrite)

    Synapse (gap)

  • NeurotransmittersNeurotransmitter Name Function

    Acetylchloline Movement control, thinking/comprehending

    Glutamate Memory

    Gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) Eating, sleeping, aggression

    Dopamine Movement control, attention, pleasure and reward feelings

    Serotonin Eating, sleeping, mood, pain, depression,coping with stress

    Endorphins Pain suppression, pleasurable feelings, appetite

  • NeurotransmittersAn excess or lack of neurotransmitters

    can impact our behavior.

    For example, Parkinsons Disease causes the brain

    cells that produce dopamine to die. The

    lack of dopamine in the body leads to shaking,

    irregular movements, and loss of motion control. Lack of dopamine also depresses your mood,

    which affects your personality and habits.

  • NeurotransmittersAn excess or lack of neurotransmitters

    can impact our behavior.

    Dopamine is also associated with motivation and

    reward. When we do things like eating,

    exercise, and romancing,

    dopamine is released in our brains.

    Too much is also bad: studies show that unusually high amounts of dopamine in our bodies is related to schizophrenia.

  • Drugs & The BrainCertain drugs like cocaine cause a temporary

    overproduction of dopamine, mimicking the reward sensation. In other words, cocaine gives you a greater feeling of reward than the things that naturally cause dopamine production. The result of this is addiction.

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    Dop

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    CocaineExercise, eating,

    kissing/sex, winning

  • NeurotransmittersEndorphins block pain in your body, and are also

    responsible for feelings of pleasure or happiness. A lack of endorphins may be responsible for certain forms of mental illness such as obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    Endorphins are released when you exercise, and also when you experience pain.

    Some people who engage in self-hurting behaviors may do so in part to feel the

    feelings of euphoria prompted by controlled

    amounts of self-inflicted pain.

  • NeurotransmittersAcetylcholine deficiency is an

    abnormally low level of acetylcholine. This

    neurotransmitter is involved in the control of muscle movement, learning, and memory formation. A lack of it causes uncontrolled muscle movements and difficulty forming and retrieving memories. Serotonin is a

    neurotransmitter greatly involved in your mood. If youre

    feeling pessimistic, sad, distrustful, unconfident, or have panic attacks, you may have a

    serotonin deficiency.

    http://www.wisegeekhealth.com/what-are-the-mechanics-of-muscle-movement.htm

  • NeurotransmittersToday in modern medicine, drugs that stimulate

    neurotransmitter production are being tested to see if they help relieve symptoms of clinical depression.

    Symptoms of depression: Loss of interest Loss of appetite Loss of energyFeelings of lonelinessFeelings of worthlessnessAnger or irritabilityConcentration problemsReckless behavior

  • CausesWhat causes you to have too much or too little

    of a neurotransmitter in your body?

    Genetics: If family members have a chemical deficiency, it may

    be passed on genetically.

    Poor Nutrition:

    Your diet impacts your bodily

    chemicals (and obesity does too).

    Stress: Stress can raise

    or lower certain your

    bodily chemicals.

    Disease: Related to genetics:

    Parkinsons,Alzheimers,

    and other diseases cause chemical

    imbalances.

    Drugs: Taking certain drugs confuses your body into

    releasing chemicals when it has no

    natural reason to.

    Lack of Exercise:

    Can cause problems like high blood pressure that

    lowers blood-flow to your brain.

    Alcohol, Smoking: Both cause

    direct damage to the brain tissues.

    Lack of Sleep:

    Lowers blood flow to your

    brain.

  • Brain Imaging

  • Brain ImagingTwo types of brain scans - PET scans and SPECT scans -

    show how much activity is going on in the brain. Activity is measured by neurons firing, increased blood

    flow, and/or release of brain chemicals.

    This is a PET scan. After scanning thousands of

    brains, researchers identified what normal levels of

    brain activity looks like. If a brain shows activity higher

    or lower than a normal brain, we know there is

    something wrong.

  • Brain ImagingTwo types of brain scans - PET scans and SPECT scans -

    show how much activity is going on in the brain. Activity is measured by neurons firing, increased blood

    flow, and/or release of brain chemicals.

    This is a SPECT scan. The healthy brain

    will have a smoother shape with even brain activity. A brain with

    problems will be shaped with holes or

    lumps.

  • Brain ImagingTwo types of brain scans - PET scans and SPECT scans -

    show how much activity is going on in the brain. Activity is measured by neurons firing, increased blood

    flow, and/or release of brain chemicals.

    For example, a SPECT scan can help us see if a

    persons brain is not producing enough of a

    neurotransmitter, or is producing

    too much.

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