The Biochemistry of Disorders

Doctor Daniel Pine makes the important point that the idea of a 'chemical imbalance' as a cause of disorders has pretty much rightfully been given up.

We do not really talk about levels of brain chemicals anymore because what we know is that it is probably not that meaningful to talk about an overall or average level of a neurochemical. The level of a neurochemical in one specific part of the brain might mean one thing and the level of that very same neurochemical might mean something totally different in another part of the brain. As a rule, we tend not to talk about levels of neurochemicals at all anymore. Someday, and we are not at this point yet, we might talk about levels of neurochemicals in very specific parts of the brain or we might even talk about relationships among levels of neurochemicals, but again we are not really ready to do that. What we are ready to do or at least ready to start thinking about is how we understand activity or functioning in different parts of the brain, relatively specific parts like the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. We can start thinking about how those functions change when levels of chemicals change in those specific structures. The idea that people used to have about chemical imbalance is an idea that has pretty much rightfully been given up. We do not really talk about chemical imbalances anymore because we realized that that way of thinking about chemicals as if they are in a certain global balance is not correct. We tend to think about circuits or specific brain structures and the connections among them.

brain chemicals, biochemicals, neurochemicals, biochemistry, chemical imbalance, brain, behavior, behaviour, disorder, daniel, danny, pine

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