Demystifying Depression/Normal Neuron Communication

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Neuron Communication[edit]

Communication between neurons relies on molecules called neurotransmitters. Without going into the details of this process, it suffices to say that for a neuron to transmit information to another neuron, it must release a neurotransmitter in the small gap between the two neurons, called a synapse.

More than 300 different neurotransmitters are known to be used in one role or another by the human brain. Three of them in particular, serotonin, dopamine, and, norepinephrine have been identified as playing a major part in the physiology of clinical depression although others may also be important.

In a variety of clinical trials it has been shown that the use of drugs that mimic or affect how neurotransmitters are produced, destroyed, and moved in the brain can have verifiable effects on depression.

For example many popular anti-depressants are SSRIs. They decrease the amount of serotonin that neurons remove from synapses.

Although the effective use of these drugs shows that depression can be affected by physical changes in the Brain no one is sure exactly how these medication are effective.

Depression affects the area of the brain responsible among others for memory, learning, and tasks that require concentration and organisation [1].

Next page: The Stress System, Previous page: What Is Depression?, Top: Demystifying Depression