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Health And Wellness

What is a beta blocker? - Fullbacks of Modern Therapy

A bunch of pills shaped like a heart
What is a beta blocker? No, they’re not called beta blockers because they’re being tested. That’s in the computer world. Instead, these are medications, so-called because they actually block things called beta receptors in the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys (and other flavors of them can affect the lungs and intestines, too). Besides blocking the beta-1 receptors being discussed here, there are two other types of beta receptors, beta-2 and beta-3—in the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, smooth muscles, and even in fat; but for our purposes we’ll be talking about blocking the effect of the beta-1 receptors. How do beta blockers work? The beta-1 blockers not only “block”—that is, compete—with the things that turn the receptors on, but occupy them to render them inactive. Since these receptors, when otherwise properly filled, raise blood pressure by constricting arterial walls and stimulate the heart, blocking them is an excelle ...

Psychosis and Antipsychotics - A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

A woman with mixed emotions
Psychotic mental illness has always been very challenging to deal with because it’s always been difficult to classify. Generically defined as a break with reality, the psychosis spectrum of classification is changing constantly; but over the years it has seemed to settle into a spectrum that ranges from bipolar disorder to schizoaffective disorder to schizophrenia psychosis. Of these, the bipolar disorders—what used to be called manic-depression—can have some features of psychosis and therefore may benefit from the antipsychotics, too. Neurotransmitters and the brain The brain is a very busy place, day and night, and the traffic of neurotransmitters is relentless, which is what gives it its amazing capabilities. “Balance and imbalance” of brain chemicals are not entirely accurate words in assessing mental health, because it is seldom a give-and-take of only two things, but a mixed consortium of perhaps hundreds of things that need to go right to keep thi ...

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