How does our brain function?
The morphological basis for mental health is the properly functioning nervous system. A part of the central nervous system (CNS), localised in the skull, is the brain. The other part of the CNS - the spinal cord is located in the vertebral canal, running throughout almost the entire vertebral column.
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The nervous system is built of 15-22 billion of neurons and auxiliary cells, mainly glial. The neurons are mutually connected, making anatomic and functional pathways. The information is transmitted by means of impulses, running through neuron processes, while particular neurons communicate with one another by means of chemical substances - so called neuromediators, such as dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline and many others.
The nervous system, together with the endocrine system, controls particular functions of body organs, controlling the secretory activity of the glands, muscular contractions, the heart rate, blood pressure, etc.
Functions of the brain and of the entire nervous system:
- reception of the information from the external environment and from the body interior,
- analysis and accumulation,
- reactions to stimuli.
In the course of human development, mainly during the foetal period and in early childhood, it may come to various disorders, the consequence of which may later be the development of various mental disorders.
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In order to understand the essence of brain functionality, it may be compared to a telephone exchange: your brain is a gigantic telephone network, where various messages are transmitted. In a situation, when you are healthy, the messages arrive to the addressees. But if any illness for some time impairs the functioning of your brain, it is the same as if you were dialling wrong numbers, or were unable at all to get through to people you know very well. This is how you can imagine hallucinations.
Additionally, you may forget where you put the handset, or where you noted the phone number to a friend – this is a metaphor for cognitive disorders. Finally, it may be that you forgot about paying a phone bill for the last months and your phone has been cut off for the time being. This would be a metaphor that you stopped taking medications and a relapse occurred.