Major Neurotransmitters: Mood & Behavior
Elena C. Kaspar
Santa Monica College
There are several different neurotransmitters functioning in our body, including the major ones; Serotonin (5-HT), Norepinephrine (NE), Dopamine (DA), GABA, Endorphins and Oxytocin. These neurotransmitters are crucial and play important roles in life changing, daily experiences. They help regulate mood, sleep, eating, cognition and higher function. In the brainstem, lay clusters of serotonin neurons, the nerve fiber terminals of the serotonergic neurons extend all throughout the CNS, central nervous system, from the cerebral cortex to the spinal cord. Although serotonin has been the most studied neurotransmitter in depression, evidence has suggested that norepinephrine (NE) is of major importance in the process and treatment of depressive disorder. The role of NE and DA has been less extensively studied compared to serotonin but evidence suggests that NE is a neurotransmitter of major importance in the pathophysiology and treatment of depressive disorders. Dopamine is released when we receive a reward of any kind, making it a key in behavior, cognition, motivation, and reward. Both dopamine and oxytocin are needed in order to form a pair bond; within the reward circuit, dopamine activates the release of oxytocin, reinforcing a “connection”. Endorphins are now known universally as stress, or catecholamine, relieving hormones which act much like the opiate drugs: opium, morphine, and heroin. Being touched can raise oxytocin levels, along with hugging and holding hands with the people in your life. When engaging in physical activity, the body releases chemicals called endorphins, which interacts with receptors in the brain, reducing one’s perception of pain. With a better understanding of how these neurotransmitters work, it is easier to improve habits and improve daily life.
NEUROTRANSMITTERES: A neurotransmitter is a chemical...