How Hormones Influences Your Emotions
Sadness from heartache, elation at finding a long-lost friend, anxiety before a job interview -- you might like to think you're completely in control of what you feel and that you understand what causes those feelings. But your brain can be sneaky sometimes.
Our brain is a complex network that processes vast quantities of information every second. Part of the brain's information-processing network includes neurons, or cells that transmit signals throughout the brain. Neurons send signals through neurotransmitters, which are chemicals some release and others receive. These chemicals essentially let the parts of the brain communicate with each other.
The three most commonly studied neurotransmitters
are #dopamine #serotonin
is related to experiences of pleasure and the reward-learning process. In other words, when you do something good, you're rewarded with dopamine and gain a pleasurable, happy feeling. This teaches your brain to want to do it again and again.Serotonin
is a neurotransmitter associated with memory and learning. Researchers believe it plays a part in the regeneration of brain cells, which has been linked to easing depression. An imbalance in serotonin levels results in an increase in anger, anxiety, depression and panic
. Norepinephrine helps moderate your mood by controlling stress and anxiety. When One Side of the Brain Takes Over
Scientists have actually seen firsthand what happens when the system of emotional balance provided by the brain's hemispheres breaks down. They've found that people who have had brain damage
in the left hemisphere
of the brain are at a higher risk for suicide because they're overwhelmed with negativity
, while people who have had damage to the right hemisphere
can be overly optimistic because they have trouble identifying negative emotions Antidepressants and Your Brain
Because neurotransmitters have such an impact on your emotions, tweaking the amounts of certain brain chemicals can help relieve symptoms of #depression
That's how most antidepressants work -- they change how much of a certain brain chemical your brain gets. Some do this by reducing the reuptake (re-absorption into the neuron it was released from) of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine or a combination of these chemicals, which raises their levels in your brain and improves your mood #brain #hormones #emotions