What is the primary function of an SSRI, that is, what does it do in the brain?

Question:

What is the primary function of an SSRI, that is, what does it do in the brain?

Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the brain that transport signals from one neuron (nerve cell) to another across a synapse. Neurotransmitters help to maintain homeostasis (balance) in the body and control mood, sleep, heart rate, and appetite, just to name a few.

Answer and Explanation: 1

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are prescribed by doctors as antidepressants and they work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Seratonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain and SSRI blocks the uptake (or reabsorption) of serotonin back into a neuron. Therefore there is excess or more serotonin in the synapse between neurons and this will help a person with depression as they have a higher amount of serotonin in their brain. Note, SSRI does not produce serotonin, it simply blocks it from entering the neuron so that there is more of it in the brain.


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How Antidepressants Work in the Brain

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Chapter 8 / Lesson 9
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One of the main treatments for depression is a prescription antidepressant, which changes some of the chemical activity in the brain. Discover what depression is, how the brain works, how antidepressants work, and what SSRIs and SNRIs are.


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