Neurotransmitters are chemicals that carry messages between neurons, which are nerve cells. These messages tell us to relax or move a muscle, and they also tell us things regarding pleasure and rewards. The pleasure and rewards system in our brains rewards us with a pleasurable feeling when we do something that will maintain our survival, such as eat. When a neurotransmitter reaches a neuron, it either activates the neuron or shuts it down. One type of neurotransmitter can send different messages to various parts of the brain. I have heard this described in the past like a lock and key. The neurotransmitter is represented by the key in this analogy, and it can unlock whichever neuron(s) it is designed for.
A book called Why Him, Why Her discusses the ways neurotransmitters impact us as humans before we ever leave the womb. The author signifies that our personalities and mannerisms are impacted due to levels of different things like serotonin, estrogen, testosterone, and dopamine that we’re exposed to before we are even born.
What this means for us as parents is that while nature versus nurture has been a long-standing debated topic, there is evidence proving both are valid. While the environment we are raised in significantly impacts us, some things about who we are as individuals are inherent and built in from the start.
The applicable advice we can take away from this concept is that self-acceptance does not have to only include accepting ourselves because of what we have experienced, but also because of our biology itself.
The science behind neurotransmission is quite technical! There is so much going on in the brain during every process and function. It is interesting to learn the role of neurotransmitters, types of neurotransmitters, how drugs influence synaptic transmission, and how drugs have been used to influence neurotransmission.