Vancouver Home Health Care Agency

Understanding the Working Brain

Understanding the Working Brain

If collaboration is to be successful in mental health care, the basics of the brain must be understood. Mental health professionals, neurologists, and those who work with the brain understand these basics; other specialties must review an overview of the basic working brain to assist in the total care of the patient.

  • Neurotransmitters
    Every human movement, decision, and action relies on the neurons of the brain and how they communicate. Chemical signals and electrical impulses carry messages around the brain, then to the rest of the body; this is referred to as the action potential. Action potentials travel along axons. At the end of the axon, neurons should release chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, which cross over a synapse, to the next neurons receptors, then the process begins again.

Many mental illnesses occur when there is a problem in this process. Neurons may not communicate correctly, or they could not move along the axon correctly. Electrical signals, the delicate intricacies of how we act, are sensitive, and cause issues when they work incorrectly. There are a few main types of neurotransmitters associated with mental illness.

  • Serotonin
    This helps control a number of functions, such as sleep, appetite and mood. Research proves that those with depression lack proper serotonin levels. Medications prescribed to rebuild serotonin act through blocking serotonin from recycling back to the sending neuron. More serotonin stays on the synapse so the receiving neuron can have more, helping regulate moods.
     
  • Dopamine
    This aids in the flow of information from the front of the brain, connected to emotion and thought, and helps movement. It is also associated with the brain’s reward system. When a brain does not produce enough, the result can be Parkinson’s disease. Some studies reveal that too little dopamine could be a part of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or schizophrenia.
     
  • Glutamate
    This is the most common of all the neurotransmitters. It has a number of different roles and is an excitatory transmitter. It enhances the brain’s electrical flow and is essential in early brain development. It could also play a part in memory and learning. Many disorders have been linked to an issue in making glutamate, including obsessive compulsive disorder, autism, depression and schizophrenia.

If you have any questions on the working brain, or on collaborating care for a patient to better improve health care, call Vancouver Home Health Care Agency today.
At Vancouver Home Health Care Agency, Caring and Compassion is our business.

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