Sunday, May 15, 2022

What Is A Chemical Imbalance In The Brain

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Identifying The Cause And The Solution

Is Depression a Chemical Imbalance of The Brain or a Normal Human Emotion? Psychology

Chemical imbalances are certainly a problem. Human beings don’t realize how often their neurotransmitters alter their thoughts and emotions. When you feel negative or worry about things, it’s sometimes logical, sometimes emotional, and sometimes just the way your brain is responding to its natural chemical processes. It’s impossible for a person to tell the difference.

All of these reasons are why it is so difficult to claim that chemical imbalances are the actual cause of anxiety, and not simply a symptom. Even if they are a cause, it appears that the ability to cope with anxiety can address some or all of the chemical problems. For those that still need help, modern medicines are actually used to address these specific issues.

Assuming a chemical imbalance is what causes your anxiety and not the other way around, knowing that doesn’t change very much about treatment. You still need to:

These are what’s known about anxiety and your brain chemicals, and why there is so much more to consider than simply whether or not you were genetically predisposed to anxiety. Certainly there are some conditions that increase the risk and require medical intervention – hyperthyroid, for example, is a condition that could usually needs medical help – but there is no denying that blaming one or the other is ignoring the solution, and the solution is that you need to address your anxiety.

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How Do You Know When You Have A Chemical Imbalance

Since chemical imbalances are something that develop overtime in the brain, it may be hard to tell when youre experiencing it yourself. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of chemical imbalances:

  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Drug or alcohol misuse or abuse

If you regularly experience any combination of the side effects above, it may be time to ask your doctor if you may have a chemical imbalance. However, there is still research being done on how to exactly determine a chemical imbalance, so tests such as urine and hair tests may not be accurate. If you think you may have a chemical imbalance or a mental condition such as depression or anxiety, your doctor may be able to diagnose you by evaluating your thoughts, feelings, sleeping and eating habits, and daily activities. If your doctor is not able to reach a diagnosis, they will likely refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist for further treatment.

And Brain Neural Pathways And Associations

Most people misunderstand the meaning of “chemical imbalances” in the brain. ;This phrase has become the buzzword to use today to explain mental health problems, including social anxiety.;; Chemical imbalances exist because the neural pathway systems of the brain sometimes lead to emotional pain and irrational conclusions.

The comprehensive online therapy;series “Overcoming Social Anxiety: Step by Step” explains this question more thoroughly than an article can do, discussing what happens in the brain as people; learn to make progress against social anxiety.; Understanding; how this works is important to progress and recovery, so this is discussed; on the audio series relative to recovery from social anxiety disorder. ; That progress is physical, psyiological, and occurs in the brain so that new brain imaging scans can measure it has been tremedously useful.; Now, we can say with complete proof that cognitive-behavioral therapy for social anxiety disorder cause literal changes in the brain which are measurable and “seeable” using modern brain imaging equipment, such as MRIs and CT scans.; The Journal of the American Medical Association, a highly respected journal, recently reported on this, and included images of brain scans in people before and after cognitive behavioral therapy for social anxiety.

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Regions That Affect Mood

Increasingly sophisticated forms of brain imaging such as positron emission tomography , single-photon emission computed tomography , and functional magnetic resonance imaging permit a much closer look at the working brain than was possible in the past. An fMRI scan, for example, can track changes that take place when a region of the brain responds during various tasks. A PET or SPECT scan can map the brain by measuring the distribution and density of neurotransmitter receptors in certain areas.

Use of this technology has led to a better understanding of which brain regions regulate mood and how other functions, such as memory, may be affected by depression. Areas that play a significant role in depression are the amygdala, the thalamus, and the hippocampus .

Research shows that the hippocampus is smaller in some depressed people. For example, in one fMRI study published in;The Journal of Neuroscience, investigators studied 24 women who had a history of depression. On average, the hippocampus was 9% to 13% smaller in depressed women compared with those who were not depressed. The more bouts of depression a woman had, the smaller the hippocampus. Stress, which plays a role in depression, may be a key factor here, since experts believe stress can suppress the production of new neurons in the hippocampus.

How Chemicals Become Imbalanced

Brain Fog?

Heres where things get a little tricky. While doctors and scientists all agree that neurotransmitters are critical in transferring information in the brain, they cannot definitively state how these chemicals become imbalanced. There are millions of reactions happening in your brain every day, and according to the Harvard Medical School, this fact alone makes it impossible to determine if someone is experiencing a chemical imbalance.

Still, doctors continue to prescribe anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications because its the most common evidence they have that supports the theory that the brain is experiencing a chemical imbalance. Most of these medications increase the serotonin levels in the brain, which is the chemical responsible for elevating your mood and making you happy. So, of course, people feel better when they take these medications and then slip back into their anxious states when they come off their meds.

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How Brain Chemistry Affects Mental Health

The human nervous system is a complicated and delicate system of communication, with the brain at the helm of control. The brain itself depends on chemicals known as neurotransmitters to function properly. In brain chemistry, when there is too much or too little of one or more chemicals on a prolonged basis, this can affect a persons mental health.

The Brain Creates Billions Of Neural Pathways

The brain is literally creating new neural pathways, much like the interstate highway system, that carries information from one neuron to the next.; The neurons clump together and are associated with each other as one thing leads you to think of another thing, or as one task must be understood to understand the following one.; For our purposes, we should note that; these brain associations can trigger anxiety and release it into our system.;

This is quite normal because everything we learn — everything you learned in school and at the job — becomes part of our neural associations or pathways. ;

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What A Chemical Imbalance Does To Your Brain

The human body is made up of various chemicals. You probably know them more as enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters. With so many different compounds flowing through your veins, its not unlikely that a chemical imbalance can occur. These imbalances can be due to age, diseases, injuries, poor nutrition, or even chronic stress. In fact, we often associate a chemical imbalance with a mood or mental disorder.

When your doctor mentions a chemical imbalance, theyre usually referring to the neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers, in the brain. These imbalances exist because your brain has created neural pathways associated with stress, anxiety, and even irrational conclusions. While we can say that people are predisposed to anxiety symptoms, we cannot say that people are born with certain mental conditions related to chemical imbalances. These symptoms develop over time and a result of an individuals environment early in life.

What You Should Know About Neurotransmitters In The Brain

Chemical Imbalance in the Brain Symptoms, Causes, Tests, Treatment

The neurotransmitters in the brain linked to mood and general well-being include dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid. To get a better sense of how an imbalance in these particular brain chemicals impact mood and even mental function, it helps to take a look at them individually, starting with dopamine. This neurotransmitter is responsible for maintaining energy levels, focus, and even generating movement. As such, it is not uncommon for individuals with a dopamine imbalance to become depressed, lose focus, and even feel lethargic.

As far as severe anxiety and general nervousness, this is where norepinephrine, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid imbalances often come into the picture. Norepinephrine is associated with the fight or flight response, the physiological response to stressful situations, which can stem from being in dangerous or unfamiliar surroundings, for example. That said, it is quite common for individuals with a norepinephrine imbalance to experience some form of anxiety.

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How To Maintain Brain Balance

In addition to neurofeedback, maintaining your brains balance requires thought and effort, just like riding a bike. You can help keep your new-found health by:

  • Exercising often. If you suffer from anxiety and depression, studies have shown that regular exercise can help combat the symptoms, releasing more endorphins, or the happy hormone, into your brain. This helps boost your mood and stimulate a chemical balance in your brain and throughout the body.
  • Eating more veggies. Your diet has just as much influence on your mental health as your environment does. If you want to help balance your brain, try eating a diet rich in leafy greens and vegetables!
  • Consuming omega-3s. Theres a reason your mom made you eat your fish, and thats because of the omega-3 fatty acids! These acids are essential for brain function, and a deficiency can cause chemical imbalances that lead to depression and anxiety.
  • Getting enough sun. Okay, so we dont mean laying out and getting a tan all the time. But, we do encourage an intake of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, a healthy immune system, and helps regulate your mood. Makes sensesince being out in the sun can help improve your mood.

How Can Believing This Myth Hamper Recovery

Anxiety is caused by specific underlying factors those behaviors , situations, and circumstances that motivate anxious behavior.

If you believe anxiety disorder is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain rather than your underlying factors, you would take a medication to correct the imbalance rather than working on addressing your underlying factors.

Since anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications are largely ineffective, you could take a medication for years and not see meaningful or lasting progress.

Applying a remedy for the wrong problem is not going to solve the real problem. Therefore, it’s unrealistic to expect to overcome anxiety disorder if the real cause isnt successfully addressed.

Addressing the true cause of anxiety disorder equips us with the necessary strategies and tools to overcome it. Any other approach will cause the problem and its symptoms to remain.

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Symptoms Of Chemical Imbalances

Studies show that brain chemicals play a role in the development of anxiety and depression. Lower levels of neurotransmitters can cause symptoms, such as feelings of emptiness, worthlessness, sadness, or helplessness. These symptoms can lead to various mental conditions.

Others symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Irritability
  • Sleeping too much or insomnia;
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of empathy or feeling numbness

The feeling of impending danger, distancing from others, and thoughts of hurting others or themselves are also common symptoms of chemical imbalances. Sometimes, people with chemical imbalances hear voices in their heads and are unable to carry out daily activities. The worst thing, perhaps, is they begin to misuse drugs or alcohol due to the effects of their chemical imbalances.;

Balancing Brain Chemicals Naturally

Balancing Brain Chemistry Neurotransmitter Imbalance
  • 1Exercise more often. When you have anxiety or depression, exercise may not be high on your priority list, but research shows that it can make a big impact on mood by stimulating and/or balancing numerous chemicals and neurotransmitters in the body.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source Regular exercise is theorized to help ease depression and anxiety in a number of ways, such as: releasing feel-good brain chemicals ; reducing immune system chemicals that are linked to worsening depression; and increasing body temperature, which seems to have general calming effects.
  • Research published in 2005 found that walking briskly for about 35 minutes daily five times per week or 60 minutes daily three times per week had a significant impact on mild-to-moderate depression.XTrustworthy SourceHarvard Medical SchoolHarvard Medical School’s Educational Site for the PublicGo to source
  • Other types of cardiovascular exercise that may provide similar benefits include swimming, cycling, jogging and dancing.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish , other seafoods, including shrimp, algae and krill, as well as some nuts and seeds .
  • If supplementing, consider taking fish oil, krill oil and/or flaxseed oil.
  • Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include poor memory, mood swings and depression, among others.
  • In one study, it was shown that 10 grams of fish oil daily helped bipolar patients treat their symptoms.XResearch source
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    How Is Schizophrenia Diagnosed

    To diagnose this disease, your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history and symptoms. You may also have a physical exam. You may also have lab tests to rule out other conditions.

    Mental health care professionals diagnose and treat this illness. They often interview family members. This helps the healthcare team get a complete picture of the symptoms.

    Chemical Imbalance In The Brain Symptoms

    Chemical imbalance leads to various conditions depending on the specific chemicals involved. They include:

    Diabetes

    This is a disease that results due to persistently high levels of sugar in the blood. Chemical imbalance in the brain is often associated with this condition in that it leads to disruption in the production of insulin meant to ensure uptake of glucose by the body cells. Diabetes results due to the insulin imbalance. In this case one presents with polyuria, polyphaghia and increase intake of water among other signs and symptoms.

    Mood disorder like Depression

    Norephineprine, dopamine and serotonin are chemicals are neurotransmitters operating in the brain. These chemicals play a major role in determining a persons mood and any alteration in their level may lead to alteration of an individuals mood and may cause depression.

    Anxiety Disorder

    The mild form of anxiety is rarely associated with chemical imbalance. The severe forms like agoraphobia and panic disorder show evident chemical imbalance. It has been proven that low levels of a chemical known as serotonin results in symptoms of anxiety. Anxious state too lowers the level of this chemical. Practice of anxiety reducing strategies is known to increase the serotonin levels.

    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    The three common symptoms of ADHD are as a result of chemical imbalance in the brain. Persons with this condition lack the ability to complete simple tasks.

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    Chemical Imbalance In The Brain

    Mental illness covers a wide spectrum of disorders that hamper your general thinking ability or even create behavioural changes. Some may be severe and rare like multiple personality disorders, schizophrenia, others much common like depression, anorexia, and addictions. So, what is to blame for such a condition? Researchers have derived theories stating that chemical imbalance in the brain is the cause of mental illness. Scroll down to know more.

    What Is Chemical Imbalance In The Brain

    The Chemical Imbalance Theory of Mental Disorders

    Chemical imbalance is a term used to refer to the diagnosis made by psychiatrists or physicians to explain the reason behind the changes in ones neurological state. The human body is a system that contains many types of chemicals that include neurotransmitters, hormones and enzymes. Chemical imbalance results when one is having a disease, poor nutrition, an injury, chronic stress or even the normal aging process. In a situation whereby the potassium levels are lowered, increased levels of cortisol stress hormone and reduction in the ability of neurotransmitters chemical imbalance occurs.

    The resulting signs and symptoms of chemical imbalance do vary widely among different people; however, there are some few scenarios where some traits are shared. The signs and symptoms of chemical imbalance include:

    • Alterations in behavior:This is a common sign and an example is a situation where one is happy then suddenly gets sad and cannot really explain the cause.
    • Mania/Extreme sadness

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    How To Deal With Chemical Imbalance In The Brain

    Natural Remedy

    There are many natural ways to deal with chemical imbalance in brain. Go through the top five:

    • Check for vitamin D deficiency: bask in the warmth of the sun to keep your brain healthy. Vitamin D is said to be responsible for many hormone related changes and it has often been linked to the treatment of mental disorders such as depression. Other than the sun, you can turn to salmon, tuna fish, beef liver and egg yolks for vitamin D.
    • Increase omega-3 fatty acids in your diet: also known as essential fats, omega-3 fatty acids help with normal stimulation of the brain and can be found in most kinds of seafood including fish, shrimps and prawns.
    • Go for acupuncture: Enduring pain for sometime can get you free from the grasps of potential mental illness. Just have a few sittings for acupuncture, a treatment that presses down your specific energy points to stimulate bodys processes and ensure smooth flow of energy in the body.
    • Try herbal medicines: What can be better than taking up natures blessings in your state of low. Such medicines are famous worldwide due to low levels of side effects and high effectiveness. Some of the common medicines include kava kava, Valerian root, ashwagandha root and passionflower.
    • Exercise: exercises help release the feel-good chemicals in the brain as well as promote proper oxygen flow to the entire body. Try brisk walking for half an hour every day or swimming.

    Medical Treatment

  • Tests
  • Importance of seeking professional help
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