Saturday, July 9, 2011
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.