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Neurotransmitter

Last updated: February 18, 2021

What Does Neurotransmitter Mean?

A neurotransmitter is a biochemical agent that originates in the brain, triggering electrical impulses via a network of communicating neurons (nerve cells) throughout the body to control intracellular activity that sustains homeostatic functions and processes. The end point of each neuron contains an axon terminal from which neurotransmitters transmit across a free space or gap called a synapse to attach to a receptor site of a corresponding neuron in order to perform a biological or physiological effect.

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WorkplaceTesting Explains Neurotransmitter

Neurotransmitters fall into three main categories including excitatory, inhibitory and modulatory functions that contribute to hormonal, muscular, and psychological factors with an overarching purpose of maintaining health. However, a host of problems can disrupt the release of neurotransmitters that can influence heart rate, cognitive functionality, emotional state, and circadian rhythm cycles. Primary neurotransmitters include acetylcholine, dopamine, epinephrine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), histamine, and serotonin, all of which cue a specific neural response from an organic system that dictates behavior.

Psychological conditions and neurodegenerative diseases carry significant etiological implications where neural pathway abnormalities or cellular decomposition of the brain can induce anxiety, depression, memory lapses, concentration difficulties, and slow motor reflexes. Medical evidence also indicates that psychoactive stimulants and depressants can have a comorbid effect, in which manufactured endorphins from drug use replace natural receptors of neurons while, incidentally, developing an addiction to achieve initial feelings of euphoria or relieve pain by sustained use. In the workplace, marijuana, cocaine, and opiates (i.e., heroin) are common drugs that employees may use to the detriment of company morale and job performance.

In medicine, a deficit, excess, or anomalous transmission of neurotransmitters between neurons can compromise metabolic functions and psychiatric balance. In some cases, medication is required to offset the difference. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and employee assistance programs (EAP) are viable methods to help treat individuals with a predisposition for addictive behavior that impacts neurotransmitter conduction in the body.

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