Saturday, July 9, 2011

How Lexapro Works at the Synapses

By definition, a synapse is a small space between the end of one neuron-the presynaptic neuron and the cell body of another neuron-the post synaptic neuron, (Goldstein, 8th edition). It is the point of chemical transmission in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals stored in synaptic vesicles that are released in response to a nerve impulse and has an excitatory or inhibitory effect on another neuron, (Goldstein, 8th edition). This may be a bit difficult to understand, but I found it quite interesting when exploring how the above information leads to the understanding of how anti-depressants work. I hit a point where so many life changing events were going on in my life that depression got the best of me. I was prescribed an anti-depressant called Lexapro and now have a better understanding of how it alters my brain and my perception of events and emotions. Drugs like Lexapro alters an individuals state of mind and changes the way neurons communicate in synapses of the brain. Lexapro helps to block the reuptake of the monoamine neurotransmitter serotonin into brain cells which means it leaves more of it floating around in the synaptic terminal. This allows it to linger and continue sending signal between neurons. The increased level of serotonin in my brain has decreased my anxiety, cleared my mind of “fogginess” which has increased my cognitive function such as memory and learning. The result of lower anxiety and a clear mind is that my zest for life and desire to fulfill goals has returned.


  1. I am happy to hear your success with lexapro :) I agree that researching how the brain uses, makes, and distributes chemicals is intriguing. It is amazing how a tiny neuron and a gap so small can much such a huge difference on your life and emotions.

    Best Wishes!

  2. I too am happy to hear such a positive story about what a tiny pill can do to improve an individual's well being! Unfortunately, having worked in a pharmacy for over five years I have seen both the pros and cons of these types of medications. Of course, there are people just like you who genuinely need the medication, take it, and show a tremendous improvement in quality of life and happiness. On the other hand though, we have seen many patients with just the opposite. The key to these types of medications are to stay on them! All too often people see themselves as cured from their depression and make the judgment to take themselves off of the prescription. Sadly, once doing this, many of these people experience even worse symptoms of depression than they had originally. Overall, of course it is extremely fortunate that these types of drugs are available to us and can truly change a life for the better but it is so important that they be taken with caution and knowledge of the side effects they may create if their use is terminated by the patient.

  3. I am also happy to hear that you had such a success with Lexapro! I think it is important to really understand just exactly how it works to alter your brain and your perception of events and emotions especially if you are prescribed. I think that sometimes medication is the way to go when you feel that it is needed and it is amazing how one pill can totally change the direction of a person's life for the better.