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Change the Brain; Relieve the Pain; Transform the Person

Soothing with GABA
(Workbook Page 56)

GABA is the the main inhibitory neurotransmitter used throughout the body. Look at the graphic on page 56 of the Neuroplastic Transformation Workbook. It shows two nerve endings and a synapse. GABA in one nerve ending attaches to receptors in the next nerve ending and holds back the release of Glutamate. Read the text under the graphic. The two main neurotransmitters in the brain are glutamate and GABA. Glutamate causes nerves to fire and GABA causes them to stop firing. The body manufactures these substances in a typically economical fashion, creating most of the GABA in the brain from glutamate. This ensures a balance between these two neurotransmitters. In depression, anxiety, panic and pain states the brain releases more glutamate than GABA. It fires more easily and this can lead to other problems, such as creation of long-term potentiation, disruption of the Default Mode Network and wiring of unpleasant mood and pain circuits. Nerve cells produce more excitatory neurotransmitters and glial cells produce more inflammatory cytokines. Substance-P production goes up and expands pain circuitry in the brain, while causing more inflammatory release in injured parts of the body. The brain-body loop is stimulated by more pain input and output. GABA release is too limited to overcome these runaway processes.

People are the least soothed when these runaway processes are going on, but this is precisely the time the brain needs soothing. Conscious effort to counter-stimulate by soothing releases GABA all over the brain.

When excitatory Neurotransmitter glutamate overwhelms it's inhibitory counterpart Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA), runaway processes of long-term potentiation (LTP) set off a cascade of local glial cell based inflammatory responses. In turn, these glial inflammatory responses expand the pain map in the brain and release inflammatory Substance-P into the injured area of the body. This perpetuates the continuous loop of excessive pain in the body and brain. Self-soothing strategies, such as smelling peppermint, which also acts as a Substance-P inhibitor in the brain, blocks glial cell inflammation via release of anandamide and deactivation of microglial cells. GABA and glutamate come back into balance and GABA is released into the amygdala, interrupting the pain response.

© 2015 Michael Moskowitz, Marla Golden Contact