What are the 7 neurotransmitters?

Fortunately, the seven “small molecule” neurotransmitters (acetylcholinedopaminegamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glutamatehistaminenorepinephrine, and serotonin) do the majority of the work.


How do neurotransmitters affect mental illness?

Most scientists believe that mental illnesses result from problems with the communication between neurons in the brain (neurotransmission). For example, the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin is lower in individuals who have depression. This finding led to the development of certain medications for the illness.


What are neurobiological disorders?

Neurobiological disorder: An illness of the nervous system caused by genetic, metabolic, or other biological factors. Many illnesses categorized as psychiatric disorders are neurobiological, including autism, bipolar disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, schizophrenia, and Tourette syndrome.


Moral emotions

Moral emotions are thought to influence moral behaviour by providing a driving force to do good and to avoid doing bad. In this study we examined moral emotions; specifically, guilt, shame, annoyance and feeling “bad” from two different perspectives in a moral scenario; the agent and the victim whilst manipulating the intentionality of the harm; intentional and unintentional. Two hundred participants completed a moral emotions task, which utilised cartoons to depict everyday moral scenarios. As expected, we found that self-blaming emotions such as shame and guilt were much more frequent when taking on the perspective of the agent whilst annoyance was more frequent from the victim perspective. Feeling bad, however, was not agency-specific. Notably, when the harm was intentional, we observed significantly greater shame ratings from the perspective of the agent compared to when the harm was unintentional. In addition, we also found clear gender differences and further observed correlations between moral emotions and personality variables such as psychoticism and neuroticism.

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CBT and the Neural Circuits of Anxiety

CBT and the Neural Circuits of Anxiety

We are looking for participants with persistent anxiety who are registered to undergo psychological therapy for anxiety to take part in our research study on the effects of psychological therapy on learning and emotional processing. It is hoped that this research will contribute to an improved understanding of anxiety and its treatments.

Important information

The study will involve the following which may not be suitable for some:

 – fMRI – participants will need to lay still for a period of time whilst their head is in an enclosed space. This is not suitable for claustrophobic individuals or those who have issues laying on their back for an extended period of time.

 – Electric shocks – infrequent and unpredictable shocks will occur during the tasks. These are comparable to a rubber band being snapped against the skin. They have been used many times in previous projects of the group with no adverse effects and no temporary or lasting injury.

How to get involved

If you are interested, please follow the link below to our online pre-screening:


Anxiety-related mental health conditions

The UCL Neuroscience and Mental Health Group are running a research study on how antidepressants work in the treatment of anxiety, so that we can inform future treatment strategies. Specifically, we are seeking two groups of people to help us in our research: individuals experiencing frequent and potentially disruptive anxiety, and also individuals with no history of anxiety or other mental health conditions.


Early Warning Signs Before Psychosis

Most people think of psychosis as a break with reality. In a way it is. Psychosis is characterized as disruptions to a person’s thoughts and perceptions that make it difficult for them to recognize what is real and what isn’t. These disruptions are often experienced as seeing, hearing and believing things that aren’t real or having strange, persistent thoughts, behaviors and emotions. While everyone’s experience is different, most people say psychosis is frightening and confusing.

Psychosis is a symptom, not an illness, and it is more common than you may think. In the U.S., approximately 100,000 young people experience psychosis each year. As many as 3 in 100 people will have an episode at some point in their lives.

Early or first-episode psychosis (FEP) refers to when a person first shows signs of beginning to lose contact with reality. Acting quickly to connect a person with the right treatment during early psychosis or FEP can be life-changing and radically alter that person’s future. Don’t wait to take the first step and prepare yourself with information by reviewing these tip sheets: 

What is Early and First-Episode Psychosis?
Early Psychosis: What’s Going on and What Can You Do?
Encouraging People to Seek Help for Early Psychosis
Early Intervention: Tips for School Staff and Coaches


Duration of untreated psychosis and outcomes

What is duration of untreated psychosis (DUP)?

DUP is generally determined as the time from the onset of psychotic symptoms to the initiation of treatment or first clinical presentation, when a diagnosis of first-episode psychosis may be given. Longer DUP has been associated with poorer prognosis and is thought to be a predictor of the likelihood and extent of recovery. As such, understanding the effects of DUP is particularly important because it is potentially modifiable.

What is the evidence for DUP and outcomes?

Moderate to high quality evidence indicates longer DUP, particularly over 9 months, is associated with more severe symptoms, including symptoms of depression and anxiety, and poor social and overall functioning, quality of life, and low response to treatment. Moderate quality evidence also suggests less likelihood of remission with a longer DUP. Effect sizes were all small to medium-sized.

Moderate quality evidence finds a large effect of increased risk of homicide, and a small effect of increased risk of deliberate self-harm with longer DUP.

Moderate quality evidence finds brain structural anomalies in people with first-episode psychosis are not consistently associated with length of DUP.

Attachment Styles

For readers unfamiliar with the theory, attachment styles are patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that maximize our abilities to establish and maintain connections to our significant others. In childhood, they are adaptations that enable children to adjust to whatever parental conditions they are born into.

  1. Secure Attachment. If parents are consistent, available, and responsive, their children need to do little to maintain security in their parental relationships. Their secure attachment styles enable them to connect easily, to accurately perceive and react to other people, and to control their emotions and behaviors in healthy ways.
  2. Avoidant Attachment. When parents are rejecting of a child’s need for closeness and reassurance, the child will learn to deny their own negative emotions and needs for close relationships. They will maximize their feelings of security in their parental relationships by developing avoidant attachment styles (also called “dismissing” among adults) and getting parental approval by winning at things like academics and sports and acting self-assured and confident.
  3. Anxious Attachment. When parents are inconsistent in dealing with their children—sometimes warm and loving and at other times cold and rejecting—the children will cope by learning to carefully monitor the parents’ moods so that they can feel secure by heading off rejection before it happens. These children develop anxious attachment styles (also called “preoccupied” among adults) so that they can remain on guard for any signs of rejection. They try to stay as close as possible to their loved ones, don’t like to let go, and have a hard time dealing with loss, especially if they cannot make sense of why the loss happened.
  4. Disorganized Attachment. When parents are frightened (traumatized, victimized, terrorized) or frightening (bullying, abusive, rageful), children will not be able to develop organized ways of coping or adapting. The environment is too unpredictable, so they develop “disorganized” attachment styles (called “fearful” among adults). One system of measuring attachment styles, the Adult Attachment Interview, calls this style “unresolved” in relation to loss and trauma. These individuals have a hard time dealing with losses later in life because they were never able to effectively resolve losses earlier in their lives. This is similar to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), in which the greatest predictor of developing the disorder after a trauma in adulthood is having unresolved traumas earlier in life.


Hate Breeds Hate

” If you treat someone with angermalice, or hatred, it will typically cause them to behave in a similar way to yourself or to others. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and treat people as kindly as possible, even if they‘ve wronged me in the past. Hate only ever begets hate, after all.”

— Proverb