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Impact of Neurotransmitters on Health through Emotion

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Animal and Human behaviour suggests that it is ultimately an expression of events guided by the nervous system. As decision-making neurological processes became increasingly concentrated in the centralized brain over evolutionary time, behaviour became essentially an expression of brain's response to information coming to it from inside and outside the body. Human emotions guide and direct behaviour. They dominate us in such a way that there is no solution. If a person has no emotions, he becomes crippled in terms of life. An emotion is a strong feeling associated with some instincts or biological drives. In addition to the above, emotions have some more specific characteristics-they bring psychological and physiological changes. Emotions are short-lived experiences that produce coordinated changes in people's thoughts, actions and physiological responses. During emotions, specific action tendencies infuse both mind and body, simultaneously narrowing individual action urges (flight in fear, attack in anger) by mobilizing appropriate bodily support for those specific actions. Human emotions are classified into Negative (Fear, Anger, Depression, Anxiety, Envy, Shame etc.) and Positive (Love, Appreciation, Happiness, Hope, Confidence, Patience, Trust etc.) emotions. The primary emotions are anger, fear, pleasure, sadness, and disgust. Positive emotions are often characterized by a relative lack of autonomic reactivity. They broaden the scopes of attention, cognition, and action widening the array of precepts, thoughts and actions presently in mind. The positive emotion of pleasure may facilitate injective, exploratory, sexual or novel-seeking behaviour. Negative emotions such as anger and fear may promote avoidance or defensive behaviour.
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The International Journal of Indian Psychology
ISSN 2348-5396 (e) | ISSN: 2349-3429 (p)
Volume 3, Issue 2, No.8, DIP: 18.01.146/20160302
ISBN: 978-1-329-95395-6
http://www.ijip.in | January - March, 2016
© 2016 I G Deepika, H Rajeswari; licensee IJIP. This is an Open Access Research distributed under the terms of the
Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted
use, distribution, and reproduction in any Medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Impact of Neurotransmitters on Health through Emotion
Ms. G. Deepika1*, Ms. Rajeswari. H2
Keywords: Neurotransmitters, Health, Emotion
Animal and Human behaviour suggests that it is ultimately an expression of events guided by
the nervous system. As decision-making neurological processes became increasingly
concentrated in the centralized brain over evolutionary time, behaviour became essentially an
expression of brain’s response to information coming to it from inside and outside the body.
Human emotions guide and direct behaviour. They dominate us in such a way that there is no
solution. If a person has no emotions, he becomes crippled in terms of life. An emotion is a
strong feeling associated with some instincts or biological drives. In addition to the above,
emotions have some more specific characteristics-they bring psychological and physiological
changes. Emotions are short-lived experiences that produce coordinated changes in people’s
thoughts, actions and physiological responses. During emotions, specific action tendencies infuse
both mind and body, simultaneously narrowing individual action urges (flight in fear, attack in
anger) by mobilizing appropriate bodily support for those specific actions.
Human emotions are classified into Negative (Fear, Anger, Depression, Anxiety, Envy, Shame
etc.) and Positive (Love, Appreciation, Happiness, Hope, Confidence, Patience, Trust etc.)
emotions. The primary emotions are anger, fear, pleasure, sadness, and disgust. Positive
emotions are often characterized by a relative lack of autonomic reactivity. They broaden the
scopes of attention, cognition, and action widening the array of precepts, thoughts and actions
presently in mind. The positive emotion of pleasure may facilitate injective, exploratory, sexual
or novel-seeking behaviour. Negative emotions such as anger and fear may promote avoidance
or defensive behaviour. They may lead to Change in appetite, Headaches, High blood pressure,
Insomnia, Sexual problems, Weight gain or loss, Chest pain. Studies have shown that negative
emotions actually weaken your body, while positive emotions strengthen your body. Shame has
the most devastating effect, followed by guilt, apathy, grief, fear, anxiety, craving, anger and
1 Assistant Professor, Department Of Mental Health Nursing, Narayana College Of Nursing, Chinthareddypalem,
Nellore
2 Professor & HOD, Department Of Mental Health Nursing, Narayana College Of Nursing, Chinthareddypalem,
Nellore
*Responding Author
Impact of Neurotransmitters on Health through Emotion
© The International Journal of Indian Psychology, ISSN 2348-5396 (e)| ISSN: 2349-3429 (p) | 113
hate. Negative emotions really do cause disease and illness and premature aging. Powerful
emotions such as pain, fear, grief, disappointment, panic, anxiety, anger and longing shock your
body like an electrical charge, leaving scars or lesions along your neural pathways.
Neurotransmitters:
Neurotransmitters are a chemical substance that acts as a mediator for the transmission of nerve
impulse from one neuron to other neuron through a synapse. It is produced in the cell body of the
neuron and is transported through axon. At the axon terminal, the neurotransmitter is stored in
small packets called vesicles. Under the influence of stimulus, these vesicles open and release the
neurotransmitter into synaptic cleft. It binds to the specific receptors on the surface of post
synaptic cell and is responsible for the various actions produced. In short, neurotransmitters are
the way nerve cells communicate with each other and with other cells in the body.
Neurotransmitters are used to relay information about environment to the brain, to analyze the
information and to set in motion appropriate bodily responses.
Most neurotransmitters can activate multiple receptor subtypes and receptor classes. If they were
allowed to operate over a long period of time, the results would be disastrous for the organism
since there would be a constant overload of messages being sent. Approximately
neurotransmitters regulate human body functioning and contribute to normal functioning .They
function by changing the permeability of the cell membrane to various ions such as sodium and
potassium. If an excess of sodium ions flow into the nerve cell, an impulse is generated. If an
excess of potassium ions flow out, the impulse is inhibited. Depending upon their function,
neurotransmitters are classified into two types. Excitatory neurotransmitters and Inhibitory
neurotransmitters. Excitatory neurotransmitters are responsible for the conduction of
impulse from presynaptic neuron to postsynaptic neuron. Neurotransmitter released from pre
synaptic axon terminal causes some change in resting membrane potential, i.e. slight
depolarization by the opening of sodium channels in the postsynaptic membrane and influx of
sodium ions from extra cellular fluid. This slight depolarization is called excitation.
Impact of Neurotransmitters on Health through Emotion
© The International Journal of Indian Psychology, ISSN 2348-5396 (e)| ISSN: 2349-3429 (p) | 114
Process of neurotransmission
Common excitatory neurotransmitters are acetylcholine, nor adrenaline, glutamate, aspartate,
histamine and nitric oxide. Inhibitory neurotransmitters inhibit the conduction of impulse from
the pre synaptic neuron to postsynaptic neuron. When it is released from presynaptic axon
terminal due to the arrival of action potential, it causes the release of potassium in the post
synaptic membrane and efflux of potassium ions which leads to hyper polarization, also called as
inhibition. Inhibitory neurotransmitters calm the brain and help create balance in mood.
Common inhibitory neurotransmitters are dopamine, gamma amino butyric acid (GABA),
glycine and serotonin. Different neurons, in different regions of the brain and carrying out
different functions, may express different receptors for the same neurotransmitter. This allows
the same neurotransmitter to affect neurons in different ways, depending on the type of receptor
they display. Each receptor, when occupied, triggers a different kind of reaction within the
receiving neuron. All neurotransmitters play some role in behaviour. The neurotransmitters most
commonly implicated in behaviour modulation are the small molecular transmitters acetyl
choline, nor epinephrine, dopamine and serotonin.
Impact of Neurotransmitters on Health through Emotion
© The International Journal of Indian Psychology, ISSN 2348-5396 (e)| ISSN: 2349-3429 (p) | 115
Scheme of neurotransmission:
Acetylcholine (ACH): ACH is responsible for much of the stimulation of muscles, including the
muscles of the gastro-intestinal system. It is transmitted within cholinergic pathways that are
concentrated mainly in specific regions of the brainstem and are thought to be involved in
cognitive functions, especially memory. Severe damage to these pathways is the probable cause
of Alzheimer’s disease. Outside the brain, acetylcholine is the main neurotransmitter in the
parasympathetic nervous system the system that controls functions such as heart rate,
digestion, secretion of saliva and bladder function. It causes emotion, reward perception and long
term depression. It plays an important role in memory formation.
Serotonin :
Serotonin has an unusually large number of different receptors present on various cells in the
brain; a total of 15 receptors, spread across different structural classes. There are two pre-
synaptic receptors that are important to behaviour - the serotonin transporter and a regulatory
receptor referred to as the serotonin-1β receptor.
Adequate amounts of serotonin are necessary for a stable mood and to balance any excessive
excitatory neurotransmitter firing in the brain. In addition to mood control, serotonin has been
linked with a wide variety of functions, including the regulation of sleep, pain perception, body
temperature, blood pressure and hormonal activity.
Activities such as eating, grooming, or simply resting and thinking are accompanied by high
levels of brain serotonin. But it is also the main chemical messenger used to wake up the cortex
and get it involved in decision making. In this role, serotonin is used largely by neurons found in
the so-called “raphae nucleus” of the midbrain region, where possible behavioural responses to
Impact of Neurotransmitters on Health through Emotion
© The International Journal of Indian Psychology, ISSN 2348-5396 (e)| ISSN: 2349-3429 (p) | 116
various stimuli are first formulated. These neurons in turn become involved in the future
processing and interpretation of the incoming messages, and in selecting an appropriate response.
Low levels of 5-HT and metabolites are associated with depression and especially a type of
depression that is more likely to lead to suicide. Serotonin dysfunction has been associated with
obsessive compulsive disorder, aggression, eating disorders, and schizophrenia and migraine
headaches. Reduced serotonin may induce insomnia and decreased immune system functioning.
The decreased level of serotonin generated by the action of enzyme mono aminooxidase A is
associated with violent behaviour and antisocial personality disorder. Increased level of serotonin
during early life, caused by decreased activity of this enzyme, seems to be linked with the higher
risk of violent behaviour and aggression in the adulthood.
Histamine
Histamine plays role in arousal, phobias, addictions and extreme depression, pain threshold, and
regulation of blood pressure
Noradrenaline (NA)
NA is involved in a broad range of psychological functions and behaviours. One of the most
important is its role in attention and arousal. It regulates anxiety and negative emotional memory
reward perception. NA neurons appear to be involved in the regulation of an organism's
vigilance. The broad projection of the locus coeruleus (LC) makes it especially well suited to act
as a mechanism to alert cortical and thalamic areas to incoming sensory stimuli. The LC is
electro-physiologically quiet during low vigilance states such as sleep or in the lack of sensory
input. When exposed to a strong stimulus, the LC markedly increases its firing rate, however.
The broad influence of the activated LC is to filter weak stimuli and enhance moderate stimuli.
This filtering and enhancement by NA is believed to aid in CNS processing of sensory
information.
Noradrenaline alerts the brain of the presence of novel and potentially threatening events in the
external environment- brain arousal and body arousal. Under activity of noradrenaline-releasing
neurons often accompanies depression. Over production of noradrenalin may generate feelings of
anxiety and fearfulness, as if there was a constant threat present in the environment.
Dopamine:
The role of DA systems in motivated behaviour is of particular importance. It is proposed to
mediate a performance activating effect of motivated behaviour, as well as conveying internal
reward signals. DA is implicated in psychiatric illnesses (especially schizophrenia) and disorders
of movement control. Impulsivity usually has a negative connotation because of the harm it can
cause not only to the impulsive individual but, through that individual’s behaviour, to others.
Impulsive acts are often preceded by a period of rising tension, which resolves into a sense of
Impact of Neurotransmitters on Health through Emotion
© The International Journal of Indian Psychology, ISSN 2348-5396 (e)| ISSN: 2349-3429 (p) | 117
relief and well-being once the act is completed. The role of dopamine in impulsive behaviour is
most likely tied to its involvement in the brain’s system for rewarding particular behaviours..
Dopamine interacts with multiple post synaptic receptors and is assumed to promote slightly
different responses in the neuron it serves. Depressed individuals nearly always have low levels
of serotonin in their central nervous systems. It is not surprising that impaired dopamine function
could contribute to depression. The processing of negative emotions is said to be linked to the
release of dopamine in the amygdale, prefrontal and medial temporal areas of the brain. In the
central nervous system, high concentrations of dopamine are linked to love alongside attention,
motivation and goal-directed behaviour. In addition, the ability to focus, remember, cherish of a
beloved indicates that dopamine is involved in this phenomenon. Increased levels of dopamine
had indeed been linked to undivided attention. High concentrations of dopamine in the brain had
also been associated with euphoria, loss of appetite, hyperactivity, increased mental activity, less
likely to feel fatigue, the lack of need to sleep, ‘hyperactive fear-like state, anxiety and panic.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in decision- making. It could be hypothesized that
alteration of emotional responses in elderly subjects is mostly related to concomitant impairment
of DA neurone activity. Intense pleasure experienced when listening to music is associated with
dopamine activity in the mesolimbic reward system, including both dorsal and ventral striatum .
GABA:
GABA is involved in sedation, anxiety, and muscle relaxation and tonic inhibition. It acts at
inhibitory synapses in the brain by binding to specific transmembrane receptors in the plasma
membrane of both pre and post synaptic neuronal processes causing cell cycle arrest in the S
phase, limiting growth.
Diseases Associated with GABA include focal epilepsy, which is decreased local GABA-
mediated inhibition. Many facets of epilepsy can be elicited experimentally by blocking GABA
receptors with the toxin picrotoxin. The decrease in GABA inhibition permits cells to fire
synchronously, thus producing massive local excitation and initiation of a seizure. Some finding
suggests that some initial imbalance in the GABA ergic system may underlie aspects of this
disorder.
Glutamate :
The neurotransmitter glutamate is highly toxic to neurons when present for extended periods.
One of the best understood clinical conditions involving glutamate is neuronal injury following
stroke or trauma. Derangements in glutamate metabolism or receptor activation have been
implicated in a wide variety of pathologic conditions such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's
chorea.
Combined Effects:
Together Serotonin, Nor adrenaline and Dopamine are involved in control of many mental states,
sometimes acting on their own and other times acting together. Important features they share
Impact of Neurotransmitters on Health through Emotion
© The International Journal of Indian Psychology, ISSN 2348-5396 (e)| ISSN: 2349-3429 (p) | 118
include cognitive function, mood, emotion, motivation, appetite, aggression, anxiety.
Abnormality in their neurotransmitter activity results in many brain disorders like Parkinson’s
disease, schizophrenia, migraine, anxiety disorders and depressive psychosis. Nor epinephrine
and Serotonin have been implicated to play an important role in sleep.
CONCLUSION
There are different types of neurotransmitters in the brain and each of them has their own effect
on the human body. Most people have not heard of several common neurotransmitters, including
serotonin, dopamine, nor epinephrine and epinephrine and are familiar with at least some of their
functions in regards to mood and sleep.
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... SAM and HPA axis have a major role in regulating chemical mediators in the brain by projecting them throughout the brain and body, which later impact the regulation of emotions and behavior. [14,[16][17][18] Since stressor characteristics are persistent, specific, and last a long time, it can cause mechanical disruption of adaptation and homeostasis that continue to become a particular neurobiological series that causes adaptive malfunction and impact the emotional affection and behavior, resulting in emotional problems, depression, anxiety, irritability and maladaptive behavior. These conditions may affect the development of adaptation ability to daily life interruptions and impact the quality of life of children in the future. ...
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Conceptual Pharmacology
  • Jagadish Prasad
Jagadish Prasad, " Conceptual Pharmacology, " Chapter 4, pp 174
Autonomic nervous system
  • Kd Tripathi
KD Tripathi, Autonomic nervous system, Essentials of Medical Pharmacology, Sixth Edition, Jaypee Brothers, New Delhi,2010,pg.no:89-92,95,96,119,153,163,164.
Are we hardwired? The role of genes in human behaviour Chapter 8 The role of neurotransmitters in human behaviour Website: http://nba.uth.tmc.edu/neuroscience/s1/chapter11
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  • Clark
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Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thought-action repertoires
  • L Barbar
  • Christine Fredrickson
  • Branignan
Barbar L Fredrickson and Christine Branignan, "Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thought-action repertoires," Cognition and emotion, 2005, 19(3), 313-322