Genes, Neurotransmitters, and Emotions
Behavioral geneticists have found that specific genes can be attributed to certain psychological disorders (Durand et al., 2018). Many studies have also shown that a chaotic event in someone’s childhood can influence genes (Durand et al., 2018). So, for instance, if there was the death of someone they loved very much or childhood abuse of any kind, it can alter the gene and cause it to express negatively. There is substantial scientific evidence to show that one’s environment can influence an individual’s behavior (Boyce et al., 2020). Genes, Neurotransmitters, and Emotions
What Major Neurotransmitters are Associated With Mood and How are They Involved in Abnormal Behavior?
Neuroscience has shown through studies that some parts of the brain and neurotransmitters play a prominent role in people’s moods (Dfarhud et al., 2014). Mood is defined as a feeling that is born internally and impacts most aspects of an individual’s behavior (Kawai et al., 2022). These neurotransmitters include dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and endorphins (Dfarhud et al., 2014). Genes, Neurotransmitters, and Emotions
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter made in the portion of the brain called the substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area, and hypothalamus of the brain (Juárez Olguín et al., 2016). It is believed that dopamine plays a vital role in the reward and movement part of one’s brain (Juárez Olguín et al., 2016). In other words, it is released when pleasure is felt, such as sex, smell, or something that brings joy and happiness.
Serotonin is also a neurotransmitter that helps regulate behavior, mood, and memory (Bamalan & Al Khalili, 2022). Some evidence shows that a reduced level of serotonin contributes to major depressive disorders, low mood, and low feelings of self-worth (Bamalan & Al Khalili, 2022). Medications used to treat low levels of serotonin often help with depression. Genes, Neurotransmitters, and Emotions
Norepinephrine (NE) has been studied extensively over the years as it relates to suicide and other psychiatric disorders that increase the risk of suicide in patients (Chandley & Ordway, 2012). It has been found that when NE is depleted in the brain, it can result in depression (Chandley & Ordway, 2012). Caution must be used in treating bipolar 2 with NE or any antidepressant, as it can send the patient into a manic episode (Kurita, 2016).
Endorphines are produced to relieve pain, reduce stress and improve mood (Cleveland Clinic, 2022). It is well known that endorphins are produced during exercise and other activities that “feel good.” Therefore, they can positively impact one’s outlook when they are made. This is why I believe exercise should be a part of any protocol to treat depression. Genes, Neurotransmitters, and Emotions
What role do emotions play in psychopathology?
Emotions play a role in psychopathology because emotions are implicated in psychiatric disorders associated with externalized and internalized problems. Emotions are expressed depending on what type of psychiatric disorder. For instance, someone who is experiencing]ing unrealistic fear may suffer from a general anxiety disorder, and how their emotions are expressed can help the clinician determine the diagnosis. Conversely, a lack of emotions can signal depression or a major depressive disorder. Genes, Neurotransmitters, and Emotions
Azizi, A., Mohammadkhani, P., Pourshahbaz, A., Doulatshhi, B., & Moghaddam, S. (2018). Role of emotion regulation in psychopathology. Iranian Rehabilitation Journal,
16(2), 113–120. https://doi.org/10.32598/irj.16.2.113 (Links to an external site.)
Bamalan, O. A., & Al Khalili, Y. (2022). Physiology, serotonin. National Library of Medicine. http://europepmc.org/books/NBK545168 (Links to an external site.)
Boyce, W., Sokolowski, M. B., & Robinson, G. E. (2020). Genes and environments, development and time. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(38),
23235–23241. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2016710117 (Links to an external site.) Genes, Neurotransmitters, and Emotions
Chandley, M., & Ordway, G. (2012). Noradrenergic dysfunction in depression and suicide. The Neurobiological Basis of Suicide, 29–64. https://doi.org/10.1201 (Links to an external site.)
Cleveland Clinic. (2022, May 19). Endorphins: What they are and how to boost them. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/23040-endorphins Genes, Neurotransmitters, and Emotions
Genes, Neurotransmitters, and Emotions
One way that genes can interact with environmental factors is by affecting the development of the brain. The brain is responsible for controlling all of our behavior, so if a gene affects the development of the brain, it can also affect behavior. For example, a gene that causes a mutation in the development of the hippocampus has been linked to autism. This is an example of a direct interaction between a gene and an environmental factor. Another way that genes can interact with environmental factors is by affecting the production of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are responsible for transmitting signals between neurons. They are also responsible for many of our behaviors, such as mood, sleep, and appetite (Matosin et al., 2018). If a gene affects the production of neurotransmitters, it can also affect behavior. For example, a gene that causes a mutation in the production of serotonin has been linked to depression. This is an example of an indirect interaction between a gene and an environmental factor. There are many other ways that genes can interact with environmental factors to affect behavior. For example, genes can affect the structure and function of neurons, which can then affect behavior. Genes, Neurotransmitters, and Emotions
Genes can also affect the development of other parts of the body, such as the endocrine system, which can then affect behavior. In conclusion, genes interact with environmental factors to affect behavior in many ways. These interactions can be direct or indirect, and they can occur at many different levels, from the development of the brain to the production of neurotransmitters. There are many neurotransmitters that are associated with mood, and they are all involved in abnormal behavior in some way. The most common neurotransmitters that are associated with mood are dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in the pleasure and reward systems of the brain. When someone experiences something pleasurable, dopamine is released, and this reinforces the behavior that led to the pleasure. This is why dopamine is often associated with addiction, as it can cause someone to seek out a behavior that leads to dopamine release in order to experience the pleasure and reward again. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is involved in mood, anxiety, and sleep. Serotonin levels are often low in people who suffer from depression, and increasing serotonin levels can help to improve mood. Serotonin is also involved in anxiety, and people who have low levels of serotonin are more likely to experience anxiety disorders (Payne & Maguire, 2019). Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in alertness, attention, and energy. Norepinephrine levels are often low in people who suffer from depression, and increasing norepinephrine levels can help to improve mood. Norepinephrine is also involved in attention and focus, and people who have low levels of norepinephrine are more likely to experience attention deficit disorders Genes, Neurotransmitters, and Emotions
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