The Nervous System
Lesson 9, Page 7 of 19

True, the nerves are in some way, not completely understood, related to the energy fields of the body as described in the traditional esoteric methods such as Chinese medicine.

Common Diseases of the Nervous System

Now that we have presented a brief overview of the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system, we will look at some common problems that can result when something goes wrong with this important system. We will also consider common treatments for nerve-related problems and finally explore ways in which individuals with such problems can be nutritionally supported.


We must begin our discussion of depression with a word of CAUTION: Severely depressed individuals are at a serious risk for suicide, particularly when their depression medication is suddenly withdrawn. Individuals on drugs for depression should generally be withdrawn very slowly, and then only under the supervision of their physician. Although mild to moderate depression is often amenable to natural methods, severely depressed individuals should be monitored by a health professional at all times.

It is estimated that up to 70% of adults will suffer from clinical depression at some time in their lives. ("Clinical" means that it is severe enough to warrant medical treatment.) Depression can strike anyone—old and young. It can be triggered by unemployment, divorce, separation, loneliness, after childbirth, after viral infections, and from grief due to the death of a loved one.

Depressed people get tired easily, suffer from loss of appetite, and have trouble concentrating and sleeping. Doctors believe that stimulating the brain's neural activity might help depression and this is what the three main types of antidepressant drugs attempt to do.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO Inhibitors or MAOIs) block the breakdown of the neurotransmitter noradrenaline, increasing its level in the brain. It has been observed that decreased levels of noradrenaline in the brainstem, the region involved in control of moods, usually occurs in depression. Although the MAOIs generally work, they have some potentially serious side-effects for many individuals and can even be fatal.

The second type of antidepressant drugs were the tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). These act the same way as MAOIs—to increase levels of noradrenaline—but don't have side effects quite as dangerous. However, TCAs take several weeks to work.

The newest type of anti depressant drugs are the Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) - the most notorious being Prozac, although many others have been added to the mix. As we saw in the section on neurotransmitters, depression has been found to be associated with decreased levels of serotonin in the brain. As with all neurotransmitters, the action of serotonin is normally terminated by its reuptake by the nerve which released it. SSRIs work by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin by the axon's synaptic bulbs. Since less of the neurotransmitter is reabsorbed, more of it remains in the synapse where it continues acting on the neighboring dendrite. This makes a little serotonin go a long way, so to speak. SSRIs are often effective at alleviating depression although it may take over two months to experience an elevation in mood—too long for suicidally depressed individuals.

SSRI drugs, like all drugs used to treat depression, are not without negative side-effects. One of the side-effects of anti-depression drugs in general, and SSRIs in particular, is interference with normal sexual function. The good news for these individuals is that recent medical studies have demonstrated that the herb Ginkgo biloba can be very helpful for this particular side-effect.

There is also a huge amount of anecdotal evidence suggesting that these types of drugs have been implicated in murder/suicides, including mass murders. Many analysts have observed that nearly all mass murderers had recently started taking an SSRI, or had been taken off of one, just prior to their murderous rampage. In fact, a perusal of the drug company inserts distributed with these drugs will reveal that the drug companies admit to many potential side effects which could be associated with this type of behavior. It appears that the most dangerous times for these individuals is when they first get on their drug, or when there is an alteration to their medication, including when they are withdrawn from it. Unfortunately, because these are very profitable drugs for the drug industry, accounting for billions of dollars in profits each year, and because much of this money finds its way into the advertising revenues of the media, and into the pockets of politicians, this connection is almost totally ignored by the mainstream media and the public servants as well, resulting in an almost total lack of awareness of this connection on the part of the general population. Another problem is that much of the current leadership, and the media which they control, have an agenda to disarm ordinary citizens, so they would rather blame the weapons these murderers use in order to have an excuse to outlaw them, and giving any attention to the real problems associated with these mass murders (psychotropic drugs and disarming the victims in "gun-free" zones) would expose the blatant fallacies of their political agenda.

For those individuals who suffer from clinical and sub-clinical depression, fortunately, certain nutritional substances have been shown to increase serotonin levels in the brain naturally and without dangerous side effects. One of the most promising is a precursor to serotonin known as 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), which we will discuss in a later section of this lesson. In drastic contrast to SSRI drugs, 5-HTP seems to be without negative side-effects, but most people will never hear of it, because drug companies can't make a billion dollars with 5-HTP so there will never be enough money to inform the masses through the media, or to fund a lobby to line the pockets of politicians.


The neurotransmitter, or lack thereof, most commonly associated with depression is ________.


(Select the best answer and click on the "Continue" button.)