GABA is Gamma Aminobutyric acid. This compound is considered the second neurotransmitter chemical in the brain of humans. This is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. So it remains responsible for calming and reducing the activity of neurotransmitters. To promote GABA to the brain for battling anxiety, some anti-anxiety medications provide more of the neurotransmitter chemical to the brain cells. This is an important amino acid for anxious brain injury patients.
The basic function of GABA has been more understood over the last decade. Now scientists make discoveries through research in GABA and the multiple types of GABA receptors. Also, they are understanding what roles they play in neural cells.
Understanding more about GABA includes:
Neurotransmitters—These are chemical molecules, which are used by neurons (brain cells) and nerve cells to communicate with each other. The process involves the molecules being released from one neuron. This is the presynaptic neuron traveling across the synapse and attaching them to a specific receptor site on an opposing neuron, the postsynaptic neuron. When this occurs, the molecules of a neurotransmitter land at its receptor site. After that, there are specific functions activated in the receiving cell.
Re-release of the neurotransmitter is possible, going back into the synapse for re-uptake into the presynaptic neuron. Then the transmission process is repeated (Learn more.) GABA Actions—GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This means that when it arrives at the receptor site of a neuron, it reduces the activity level of that neuron. This action reduces the firing of an electrical signal.
This can be achieved since the GABA receptor sites can control the admission of both potassium and chloride ions into neurons. The potassium ions increase a positive charge outside of the neuron and the chloride ions. This will increase the negative electrical charge within the neuron. This results in causing a decrease in the ability of the neuron to fire action and excite adjoining neurons.
The Physiology and Psychology Anxiety Reduction
GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which is involved in the processes of neural activity reduction. This results in reducing tension promote calming and reduces stress. Benzodiazepines and barbiturates are medicines used for anti-anxiety. So they work within the brain to increase the amount of GABA to the synapses. This is then able to travel to the GABA receptor sites.
The use of alcohol promotes the growth of chloride ions to the brain cells. So this raises some normal effects of GABA. Caffeine reduces the amount of GABA in the synapse. So this results in more activity, such as nervousness, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety.
The inhibiting effects and calming sensation of GABA neural activity have physiological effects on the body. The area of the brain that moderates and slows the heart rate is affected. This is what keeps it from beating rapidly. They are called the cardiac vagal neurons (CVNs). The inhibitory effect of GABA on these neurons may cause the heart rate to increase. Some medications are used to act upon GABA receptors. These are called GABAeric drugs.