The human brain contains over 100 billion nerve cells, known as neurons. Their job is the receiving of electro-chemical impulses, and their function would be to send responsive signals back to the various glands and muscles. An example of the way our brain works would be very much like an operator’s switchboard continuously receiving and sending.
We should also be aware that our brain is the seat from which we experience mood swings, thought, personality and memory. The spinal cord itself is formed by a small cluster of nerve cells that protrude from the brain. These two elements together form our central nervous system.
The Peripheral Nervous System
The peripheral nervous system has three parts. The first branches off of the spinal cord and this then extends to the skin and muscle. The next one is in the head this links the brain with our eyes, nose, and ears as well as the taste buds. the third is is the involuntary nervous system also known as the autonomic (ANS or visceral nervous system). here the likes of breathing, heart rate, digestion, and gland activities are catered for. However, having said involuntary nervous system, some such as breathing work in tandem with the conscious mind.
Mental health disorders can be found in all walks of life, people of all ages, regions, and countries. Back in 2001, The World Health Organization estimated that approximately 450 million people worldwide have a mental health problem to some degree, and nine years later the pace of today’s living and work standards as increased so that figure of 450 million could have possibly increased by another 50 million. Here in the UK it is estimated that 1 in 4 adults will experience some form of a diagnosable mental health problem in any given year. Our cousins across the pond reckon that depression affects at least 14 million American adults and can be severely disabling.
What Goes Wrong
Disorders of the brain may manifest themselves as physical or mental and emotional impairments, epilepsy and strokes would be examples of the physical impairments while mental and emotional problems such as depression or schizophrenia could be examples of the emotional impairments.
There are various types of brain and nervous system disorders, the likes of a migraine is thought to occur from temporary blood changes in and around our brain. Paralysis can result from poor circulation as a result of the death of nerve cells. The lack of Dopamine a neurotransmitter leads to Parkinson’s Disease, while a disturbance of electrical signals to certain nerve cells cause the fits in epilepsy.
The reasons behind both mental and emotional disorders are not known. However, It is thought that the trouble presents itself from too much, or too little activity from neurotransmitters in one part of the brain. while another is because of poor coordination, under or overactive nerve cells.
Why Use Drugs
You should be aware that drugs do not cure/eliminate nervous system disorders. The function of these drugs is to modify or correct the signals received by the nervous system. In this manner, the drugs restore normal functions and behaviour, which allows the patient to function in day to day living.
In the case of anxiety or insomnia, drugs are used to lower the activity within the brain bringing much-needed peace or sleep. When an individual is depressed then drugs that give the opposite effect for anxiety/insomnia are given increasing the level of activity lifting the depression allowing the sufferer to regain interest in day-to-day living.
Drugs can also be used on the nervous system to relieve other complaints that may appear to have nothing to do with the system, a migraine headache is one such problem. These drugs act on the involuntary nervous system by sending out signals that constrict the dilated blood vessels causing the migraine.
There are many things that can go wrong with the normal functioning of our brain and nervous system and you should not lose sleep worrying about it. The vast majority of us may never see serious problems with our brain and nervous system. If there does come a time when we require help then there is medication out there that will help to alleviate the symptoms allowing us to return to a normal lifestyle.
Information on the Major drug groups that are used to combat problems in this area are