E.4b Neurotransmitters & Personality

27/01/2014 § 1 Comment

So this part of the syllabus brings me back to CSI (the original one, none of that New York/Miami stuff) and the character Nathan “Nate” Haskell, who was a serial killer for a large part of the show. This guy was a serious nut job, a classic lunatic – he was legitimately psychotic. Just FYI (sort of spoilers, if you care?), it’s revealed later in an episode that he has a gene called the MAO-A gene which causes a predisposition towards violence. But yes, neurotransmitters and personality. A person’s personality is laced in his or her brain and depression and schizophrenia can have serious effects on personalities, but thankfully there are psychoactive drugs that have ways to help with such illnesses.

Depression happens when there’s a deficiency of norepinephrine or serotonin (excitatory neurotransmitters) in the brain. Psychoactive drugs can increase the levels of these neurotransmitters at synapses and at pre-synpatic neurons. Additionally, the enzymes that deactivate norepinephrine and serotonin at post-synaptic neurons are suppressed and the uptake of both neurotransmitters is inhibited at pre-synaptic neurons. This is meant to elevate the mood in normal people and to help with depression with people who are clinically depressed.

Schizophrenia happens when there is an excess of dopamine, but psychoactive drugs can decrease dopamine levels at synapses. Dopamine production is suppressed at pre-synaptic neurons and enzymatic deactivation of dopamine is increased at post-synaptic neurons and dopamine uptake increases at pre-synaptic neurons. These are the most effective agents to treat schizophrenia. But also also also, an increase in dopamine levels is caused by the usage of drugs, like too many amphetamines, and also cocaine is also known to cause paranoid or schizoid behaviour in normal people.

Scary stuff.

§ One Response to E.4b Neurotransmitters & Personality

  • Dave Ferguson says:

    I like the humerus response!

    Grade 6 A consistent and thorough understanding of the required knowledge and skills, and the ability to apply them in a wide variety of situations. Consistent evidence of analysis, synthesis and evaluation is shown where appropriate. The student generally demonstrates originality and insight.

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