Posted by Lindenblüte on October 27, 2006, at 17:35:47
In reply to Re: Apologies » Lindenblüte, posted by ronaldo on October 27, 2006, at 11:36:24
>I reckon someone, with enough knowledge, should start a thread to teach the basics of psychopharmocology. Then, maybe, we could all understand each other! Would you like to volunteer?
This is a very kind invitation. However, I must defer. Psychopharm in practice seems to be very different from psychopharm in theory, and psychopharm in my experience is none of the above. (and I don't know *hardly* anything about the first two anyways!)
If I were going to start such a thread, it might start like this.
Your brain is a big liquidy organ inside your head. There are many chemical and electrical signals within the brain, and the brain sends and recieves chemical and electrical signals with all other parts of the body.
Our brains are as different as our faces. Some people's faces are symmetrical, some people's aren't. Some people have a really prominent brow, other people don't.
Like our faces, our brains change a lot in the first 3 years following conception, and then they change a lot in the teenage years also. Our brains change gradually with adulthood and into the senior years. But brains, like faces, develop and age at different rates, depending on a variety of factors, like our genetic endowment, our exposure to carcinogens, nutrition, trauma, and other experiences.
Psychopharmacology seeks to change how the brain transmits signals and communicates information. Sometimes the brain runs short of a chemical, or a neuron that connects two areas withers or becomes inefficient. Sometimes there's too much of something.
It gets pretty complicated though. Imagine our world 6 billion people. A lot of different ways to communicate information, and a lot of different ways to accomplish "World Peace". Why are we at war? it's rarely as simple as changing a single neuron (person) or group of neurons (country) or neurotransmitter (language). Why are we at war? Is it because of a global energy shortage in years to come? Is it because "w" wasn't communicating efficiently with Saddam Hussein? How can we effect world peace?
Well, the interesting thing is that if we design a "drug" (it binds to receptors and doesn't let messages through.) that will fit in the ear canals of all humans, and then we make everyone wear it. Well, things will change. Maybe some good things will happen, but some bad things might happen too- babies may never learn to speak. AND there are many other ways of communicating, besides through the ears. (I think I remember reading that serotonin is the main neurotransmitter in the gut)
Well, my point is that the nervous system is an incredibly intricate and flexible communicative system. Block one channel, and another one will compensate, to the extent that it can (babies don't access the internet to learn language).
Also, the nervous system has evolved to use the same molecule over and over in different ways (serotonin in the gut to coordinate the bowels) serotonin in the (God help me? locus coeruleus to modulate the tone of of the neurons that must somehow affect mood?) etc etc. norepinephrine affecting cardiac activity, but also many other types of activity.
earplugs, internet connections, megaphones, etc.
I like analogies. Mostly, I'm compensating for a lack of knowledge.