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My son has suffered from seizure like dystonia affecting the left side of his body, mostly extremities for the last 7 years. Diabetes-neuropathy occurs commonly in diabetes, affecting both sensory and motor nerves; diabetes is the most common cause of AN. Supplements for Gallbladder Removal. Understanding what is happening inside our body and brain, gives us compassion. Whereas inhibiting immune responses to autoantigens and sterile tissue injuries can be beneficial, suppression of immune responses to infectious agents is detrimental. Sometimes for no reason I am just sitting down and all of a sudden I feel the rush up the back of my neck.. It is therefore not possible to be in the primitive state of fight or flight and also to think rationally and critically as the prefrontal cortex would have us do.

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Both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves release neurotransmitters, primarily norepinephrine and epinephrine for the sympathetic nervous system, and acetylcholine for the parasympathetic nervous system.

These neurotransmitters also called catecholamines relay the nerve signals across the gaps synapses created when the nerve connects to other nerves, cells or organs. The neurotransmitters then attach to either sympathetic receptor sites or parasympathetic receptor sites on the target organ to exert their effect. This is a simplified version of how the autonomic nervous system functions. How is the autonomic nervous system controlled? The ANS is not under conscious control. There are several centers which play a role in control of the ANS: Limbic system- the limbic system is composed of the hypothalamus, the amydala, the hippocampus, and other nearby areas.

These structures lie on both sides of the thalamus, just under the cerebrum. Hypothalamus- the cells that drive the ANS are located in the lateral medulla. The hypothalamus projects to this area, which includes the parasympathetic vagal nuclei, and also to a group of cells which lead to the sympathetic system in the spinal cord.

By interacting with these systems, the hypothalamus controls digestion, heart rate, sweating and other functions. Brain stem- the brainstem acts as the link between the spinal cord and the cerebrum.

Sensory and motor neurons travel through the brainstem, conveying messages between the brain and spinal cord. The brainstem controls many autonomic functions of the PNS, including respiration, heart rate and blood pressure. Spinal cord- two chains of ganglia are located on either side of the spinal cord. The outer chains form the parasympathetic nervous system, while the chains closest to the spinal cord form the sympathetic element.

What are some receptors of the autonomic nervous system? Sensory neuron dendrites are sensory receptors that are highly specialized, receiving specific types of stimuli. We do not consciously sense impulses from these receptors except perhaps pain. There are numerous sensory receptors: Photoreceptors- respond to light Thermoreceptors- respond to alterations in temperature Mechanoreceptors- respond to stretch and pressure blood pressure or touch Chemoreceptors- respond to changes in internal body chemistry i.

In this way, visceral motor neurons can be said to indirectly innervate smooth muscles of arteries and cardiac muscle. In addition, autonomic motor neurons can continue to function even if their nerve supply is damaged, albeit to a lesser extent. Where are the autonomic nervous system neurons located? The ANS is essentially comprised of two types of neurons connected in a series. The nucleus of the first neuron is located in the central nervous system.

SNS neurons begin at the thoracic and lumbar areas of the spinal cord, PNS neurons begin at the cranial nerves and sacral spinal cord. The first neuron's axons are located in the autonomic ganglia. In terms of the second neuron, its nucleus is located in the autonomic ganglia, while the axons of the second neuron are located in the target tissue. The two types of giant neurons communicate using acetylcholine. Sympathetic Parasympathetic Function To defend the body against attack Healing, regeneration and nourishing the body Overall Effect Catabolic breaks down the body Anabolic builds up the body Organs and Glands It Activates The brain, muscles, the insulin pancreas, and the thyroid and adrenal glands The liver, kidneys, enzyme pancreas, spleen, stomach, small intestines and colon Hormones and Substances It Increases Insulin, cortisol and the thyroid hormones Parathyroid hormone, pancreatic enzymes, bile and other digestive enzymes Body Functions It Activates Raises blood pressure and blood sugar, and increases heat production Activates digestion, elimination and the immune system Psychological Qualities Fear, guilt, sadness, anger, willfulness, and aggressiveness.

The sympathetic branch mediates this expenditure while the parasympathetic branch serves a restorative function. The sympathetic nervous system causes a speeding up of bodily functions i.

The ANS affects changes in the body that are meant to be temporary; in other words, the body should return to its baseline state. It is natural that there should be brief excursions from the homeostatic baseline, but the return to baseline should occur in a timely manner.

When one system is persistently activated increased tone , health may be adversely affected. The branches of the autonomic system are designed to oppose and thus balance each other. For example, as the sympathetic nervous system begins to work, the parasympathetic nervous system goes into action to return the sympathetic nervous system back to its baseline.

Therefore, it is not difficult to understand that persistent action by one branch may cause a persistently decreased tone in the other, which can lead to ill health. A balance between the two is both necessary and healthy. The parasympathetic nervous system has a quicker ability to respond to change than the sympathetic nervous system.

Why are we designed this way? Imagine if we weren't: Because the parasympathetics are able to respond so quickly, dangerous situations like the one described cannot occur. The parasympathetic nervous system is the first to indicate a change in health condition in the body.

The parasympathetics are the main influencing factor on respiratory activity. As for the heart, parasympathetic nerve fibers synapse deep within the heart muscle, while sympathetic nerve fibers synapse on the surface of the heart. Thus, parasympathetics are more sensitive to heart damage. Transmission of Autonomic Stimuli Neurons generate and propagate action potentials along their axons.

They then transmit signals across a synapse through the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters, which stimulate a reaction in another effector cell or neuron.

This process may cause either stimulation or inhibition of the receiving cell, depending which neurotransmitters and receptors are involved. Individual neurons generate the same potential after receiving each stimulus and conduct the axon potential at a fixed rate of velocity along the axon. Velocity is dependent upon the diameter of the axon and how heavily it is myelinated- speed is faster in myelinated fibers because the axon is exposed at regular intervals nodes of Ranvier.

The impulse "jumps" from one node to the next, skipping myelinated sections. Transmission- transmission is chemical, resulting from the release of specific neurotransmitters from the terminal nerve ending.

These neurotransmitters diffuse across the cleft of the synapse and bind to specific receptors attached to the effector cell or adjoining neuron. Response may be excitatory or inhibitory depending on the receptor.

Neurotransmitter-receptor interaction must occur and terminate quickly. This allows for repeated and rapid activation of the receptors. Neurotransmitters can be "reused" in one of three ways: Reuptake- neurotransmitters are quickly pumped back into presynaptic nerve terminals Destruction- neurotransmitters are destroyed by enzymes located near the receptors Diffusion- neurotransmitters may diffuse into the surrounding area and eventually be removed Receptors- receptors are protein complexes that cover the membrane of the cell.

Most interact primarily with postsynaptic receptors; some are located on presynaptic neurons, which allows for finer control of the release of the neurotransmitter. There are two major neurotransmitters in the autonomic nervous system: Acetylcholine- the major neurotransmitter of autonomic presynaptic fibers, postsynaptic parasympathetic fibers. Norephinephrine- the neurotransmitter of most postsynaptic sympathetic fibers Functions of the Autonomic Nervous System The Parasympathetic System "Rest and digest" response: The male sexual response is under direct control of the CNS.

Erections are controlled by the parasympathetic system through excitatory pathways. Excitatory signals originate in the brain, through thought, sight or direct stimulation. Regardless of the origin of the excitatory signal, penile nerves respond by releasing acetylcholine and nitric oxide, which in turn signal the smooth muscles of the arteries of the penis to relax and fill with blood.

This cascade of events results in erection. The Sympathetic System "Fight or Flight" response: Stimulation of the sweat glands Constriction of peripheral blood vessels to shunt blood to the core, where it is needed Increased in supply of blood to skeletal muscles that may be needed for activity Dilation of the bronchioles under conditions of low oxygen in the blood Reduction in blood flow to the abdomen; decreased peristalsis and digestive activities Release of glucose stores from the liver to increase glucose in the bloodstream As with the parasympathetic system, it is helpful to look at a real example to understand how the sympathetic nervous system functions: Extreme heat is a stressor that many of us have experienced.

When we are exposed to excessive heat, our bodies respond in the following manner: Inhibitory messages are sent along the sympathetic nerves to the blood vessels in the skin, which dilate in response. This dilation of the blood vessels increases the flow of blood to the body's surface so that heat can be lost through radiation from the body surface. In addition to the dilation of blood vessels in the skin, the body also reacts to excessive heat by sweating.

This occurs through the rise in body temperature, which is sensed by the hypothalamus, which sends a signal via the sympathetic nerves to the sweat glands, which increase the amount of sweat produced. Heat is lost by evaporation of the sweat produced.

Autonomic Neurons Neurons that conduct impulses away from the central nervous system are known as efferent motor neurons. They differ from somatic motor neurons in that Efferent neurons are not under conscious control. Somatic neurons send axons to skeletal muscle, which is usually under conscious control.

Visceral efferent neurons- motor neurons whose job it is to conduct impulses to cardiac muscle, smooth muscles and glands. They may originate in the brain or spinal cord CNS. Two visceral efferent neurons are required to conduct an impulse from the brain or spinal cord to the target tissue. Preganglionic presynaptic neurons- the cell body of the neuron is located in the grey matter of the spinal cord or brain.

It ends in a sympathetic or parasympathetic ganglion. Preganglionic autonomic fibers- may begin in the hindbrain, midbrain, upper thoracic spinal cord, or fourth sacral level of the spinal cord. Autonomic ganglia may be found in the head, neck or abdomen. Chains of autonomic ganglia also run parallel to each side of the spinal cord. Postganglionic postsynaptic neurons- cell body is located in the autonomic ganglion sympathetic or parasympathetic.

The neuron ends in a visceral structure the target tissue Where preganglionic fibers originate and autonomic ganglia are found helps in differentiating between the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. They are located at approximately the level of the 12th thoracic vertebrae. The adrenal gland has two parts, an outer cortex and an inner medulla. Both parts produce hormones: The medulla releases epinephrine and norepinephrine when the body responds to a stressor i.

The cells of the adrenal medulla are derived from the same embryonic tissue as sympathetic postganglionic neurons; therefore the medulla is akin to a modified sympathetic ganglion. The cells of the medulla are innervated by sympathetic preganglionic fibers. In response to neural stimulation, the medulla secretes epinephrine into the bloodstream.

Epinephrine effects are similar to norepinephrine. The hormones produced by the adrenal glands are crucial to normal healthy functioning of the body. Cortisol released as a response to chronic stress or increased sympathetic tone can be damaging to the body i. If the body is stressed for a prolonged period of time, cortisol levels may be insufficient adrenal fatigue , causing low blood sugar, excessive tiredness and muscle pain.

Parasympathetic Craniosacral Division The parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system is often referred to as the craniosacral division. This is due to the fact that cell bodies of preganglionic neurons are located in the brain stem nuclei, and also in the lateral grey horns of the 2nd through the 4th sacral segments of the spinal cord; hence, the term craniosacral is often used to refer to the parasympathetic division. When faced with situations of intense fear, anxiety or stress, the body reacts by speeding up the heart rate, increasing blood flow to vital organs and muscles, slowing digestion, making changes to our vision to allow us to see better and numerous other changes that allow us to react quickly in dangerous or stressful situations.

These reactions have allowed us to survive as a species for thousands of years. As is often the case with the human body, the sympathetic system is perfectly balanced by the parasympathetic division, which returns our system to normal following activation of the sympathetic division. The parasympathetic system not only restores balance, but also performs other important functions in reproduction, rest and sleep, and digestion. Each division uses different neurotransmitters to perform their actions- for the sympathetic nervous system, norepinephrine and epinephrine are the neurotransmitters of choice, while the parasympathetic division uses acetylcholine to perform its duties.

Neurotransmitters of the Autonomic Nervous System Neurotransmitters Sympathetic Nervous System Parasympathetic Nervous System Acetylcholine preganglionic fibers preganglionic fibers; postganglionic fibers at synapses with effector cells cholinergic Norepinephrine postganglionic fibers at synapses with effector cells adrenergic The above chart describes the major neurotransmitters of the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions.

There are a few special situations that should be noted: Some sympathetic fibers that innervate sweat glands and blood vessels within skeletal muscles release acetylcholine Cells of the adrenal medulla are closely related to postganglionic sympathetic neurons; they secrete epinephrine and norepinephrine, similarly to postganglionic sympathetic neurons Receptors of the ANS The following chart depicts the receptors of the ANS, including their location: Receptors ANS Division Location Adrenergic or Cholinergic Nicotinic receptors parasympathetic ANS both parasympathetic and sympathetic ganglia; muscle cells Cholinergic Muscarinic receptors M2, M3 affect cardiovascular activity parasympathetic M2- located on the heart acted on by acetylcholine ; M3- located on the arterial tree nitric oxide Cholinergic Alpha 1 receptors sympathetic mainly located on blood vessels; mainly located postsynaptically Adrenergic Alpha 2 receptors sympathetic located presynaptically on the nerve terminal; also located distal to synaptic cleft Adrenergic Beta 1 receptors sympathetic lipocytes; conduction system of the heart Adrenergic Beta 2 receptors sympathetic mainly located on arteries coronary and skeletal muscle Adrenergic Agonist and Antagonist In order to understand how certain drugs affect the autonomic nervous system, it is necessary to define certain terms: Sympathetic agonist sympathomimetic - a drug that stimulates the sympathetic nervous system Sympathetic antagonist sympatholytic - a drug that inhibits the sympathetic nervous system Parasympathetic agonist parasympathomimetic - a drug that stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system Parasympathetic antagonist parasympatholytic - a drug that inhibits the parasympathetic nervous system One way to keep the terms straight is to think of the suffix -mimetic as meaning "mimic"; in other words, it mimics the action.

It will assist the doctors if you bring the pill containers with you because it helps them determine the number and type of pills taken. The diagnosis is based on findings from your medical history, examination, and any lab tests performed. Drug abusers often deny their problem by playing down the extent of their drug use or blaming job or family stress. The most important thing that can be done at home is to recognize that there may be a problem and to seek help. Although benzodiazepines are commonly abused, they rarely cause serious illness or death unless combined with other drugs.

Consultation with poison specialists is usually unnecessary. A psychiatrist , however, is often asked to interview anyone seen in the emergency department before sending the person home. This is done if there is any concern that the overdose was swallowed intentionally and that the person may be at risk of harming himself or herself or others.

Inpatient treatment may be required. Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Librium, roofies, tranks, downers, benzos, goofballs, Mexican, roach, heavenly blues, valo, stupefi, date rape, anxiety, benzodiazepine abuse, drug abuse, drug overdose, medication overdose, club drugs. Benzodiazepine Abuse Overview Benzodiazepines are a type of medication known as tranquilizers.

Doctors may prescribe a benzodiazepine for the following legitimate medical conditions: Anxiety Insomnia Alcohol withdrawal Seizure control Muscle relaxation Inducing amnesia for uncomfortable procedures Given before an anesthetic such as before surgery Benzodiazepines act on the central nervous system , produce sedation and muscle relaxation, and lower anxiety levels. Although more than 2, different benzodiazepines have been produced, only about 15 are currently FDA-approved in the United States.

They are usually classified by how long their effects last. This abuse is partially related to the toxic effects that they produce and also to their widespread availability. They can be chronically abused or, as seen more commonly in hospital emergency departments, intentionally or accidentally taken in overdose. Death and serious illness rarely result from benzodiazepine abuse alone; however, they are frequently taken with either alcohol or other medications. The combination of benzodiazepines and alcohol can be dangerous -- and even lethal.

Benzodiazepines have also been used as a "date rape" drug because they can markedly impair and even abolish functions that normally allow a person to resist or even want to resist sexual aggression or assault. In recent years, the detection and conviction of people involved in this has increased dramatically. The drug is usually added to alcohol-containing drinks or even soft drinks in powder or liquid forms and can be hard to taste.

Benzodiazepine Abuse Causes Although some people may have a genetic tendency to become addicted to drugs, there is little doubt that environmental factors also play a significant role. Benzodiazepine Abuse Symptoms At normal or regular doses, benzodiazepines relieve anxiety and insomnia. High doses of benzodiazepines can produce more serious side effects. Signs and symptoms of acute toxicity or overdose may include the following: Drowsiness Confusion Dizziness Blurred vision Weakness Slurred speech Lack of coordination Difficulty breathing Coma Signs of chronic drug abuse can be very nonspecific and include changes in appearance and behavior that affect relationships and work performance.

Warning signs in children include abrupt changes in mood or deterioration of school performance. Chronic abuse of benzodiazepines can lead to the following symptoms that mimic many of the indications for using them in the first place: Dependence can result in withdrawal symptoms and even seizures when they are stopped abruptly.

Dependence and withdrawal occur in only a very small percentage of people taking normal doses for short periods. The symptoms of withdrawal can be difficult to distinguish from anxiety. Symptoms usually develop at days from last use, although they can appear earlier with shorter-acting varieties. Continued When to Seek Medical Care If you have any questions, you could call your doctor, but if you are in doubt whether someone needs immediate medical attention, you should go directly to a hospital emergency department.

Exams and Tests The diagnosis is based on findings from your medical history, examination, and any lab tests performed. In acute ingestions, diagnosis is often obvious because you or your family can tell the doctor exactly what was taken. The diagnosis of chronic drug abuse can be much more difficult, because an abuser and his or her family often try to cover up or hide what is going on. The emergency department work-up of any possible toxic drug overdose consists of an initial evaluation.

Doctors will assess how well you are breathing. The rest of the work-up depends on you and your symptoms. The physician will ask about many of the signs and symptoms. Unless you are willing to admit that you are abusing benzodiazepines or family members are present to help with the history, it is easy for you to cover up drug abuse. Monitoring and testing In the emergency department, you will usually be placed on a monitor evaluating heart rate , blood pressure , and pulse oximetry a measure of how much oxygen is in your bloodstream.

An IV line will be started.

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