Survival skills in Wilderness

Survival skills are techniques that a person may use in order to sustain life in any type of natural environment. These techniques are meant to provide basic necessities for human life which include waterfood, and shelter. The skills also support proper knowledge and interactions with animals and plants to promote the sustaining of life over a period of time. Survival skills are often associated with the need to survive in a disaster situation.[1] Survival skills are often basic ideas and abilities that ancients invented and used themselves for thousands of years.[2] Outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing, and hunting all require basic wilderness survival skills, especially in handling emergency situations. Bushcraft and primitive living are most often self-implemented, but require many of the same skills.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Astronauts participating in tropical survival training at an Air Force Base near the Panama Canal, 1963. From left to right are an unidentified trainer, Neil ArmstrongJohn H. Glenn, Jr.L. Gordon Cooper, and Pete Conrad. Survival training is important for astronauts, as a launch abort or misguided reentry could potentially land them in a remote wilderness area.

First aid

First aid (wilderness first aid in particular) can help a person survive and function with injuries and illnesses that would otherwise kill or incapacitate him/her. Common and dangerous injuries include:

The survivor may need to apply the contents of a first aid kit or, if possessing the required knowledge, naturally occurring medicinal plants, immobilize injured limbs, or even transport incapacitated comrades.


 Shelter built from tarp and sticks. Pictured are displaced persons from the Sri Lankan Civil War

A shelter can range from a natural shelter, such as a cave, overhanging rock outcrop, or fallen-down tree, to an intermediate form of man-made shelter such as a debris hut, tree pit shelter, or snow cave, to completely man-made structures such as a tarptent, or longhouse.


Making fire is recognized in the sources as significantly increasing the ability to survive physically and mentally. Lighting a fire without a lighter or matches, e.g. by using natural flint and steel with tinder, is a frequent subject of both books on survival and in survival courses. There is an emphasis placed on practicing fire-making skills before venturing into the wilderness. Producing fire under adverse conditions has been made much easier by the introduction of tools such as the solar spark lighter and the fire piston.

One fire starting technique involves using a black powder firearm if one is available. Proper gun safety should be used with this technique to avoid harmful injury or death. The technique includes ramming tinder, like charred cloth or fine wood strands, down the barrel of the firearm until the tinder is against the powder charge. Next, fire the gun up in the air in a safe direction, run and pick up the cloth that is projected out of the barrel with the shot, and then blow it into flame. It works better if you have a supply of tinder at hand so that the cloth can be placed against it to start the fire.[3]

Fire is presented as a tool meeting many survival needs. The heat provided by a fire warms the body, dries wet clothes, disinfects water, and cooks food. Not to be overlooked is the psychological boost and the sense of safety and protection it gives. In the wild, fire can provide a sensation of home, a focal point, in addition to being an essential energy source. Fire may deter wild animals from interfering with a survivor, however wild animals may be attracted to the light and heat of a fire.


 Hydration pack manufactured by Camelbak

A human being can survive an average of three to five days without the intake of water. The issues presented by the need for water dictate that unnecessary water loss by perspiration be avoided in survival situations. The need for water increases with exercise.[4]

A typical person will lose minimally two to maximally four liters of water per day under ordinary conditions, and more in hot, dry, or cold weather. Four to six liters of water or other liquids are generally required each day in the wilderness to avoid dehydration and to keep the body functioning properly.[5] The U.S. Army survival manual does not recommend drinking water only when thirsty, as this leads to underhydrating. Instead, water should be drunk at regular intervals.[6][7] Other groups recommend rationing water through “water discipline”.[8]

A lack of water causes dehydration, which may result in lethargyheadachesdizzinessconfusion, and eventually death. Even mild dehydration reduces endurance and impairs concentration, which is dangerous in a survival situation where clear thinking is essential. Dark yellow or brown urine is a diagnostic indicator of dehydration. To avoid dehydration, a high priority is typically assigned to locating a supply of drinking water and making provision to render that water as safe as possible.

Recent thinking is that boiling or commercial filters are significantly safer than use of chemicals, with the exception of chlorine dioxide.[9][10][11]


Culinary root tubersfruitedible mushroomsedible nuts, edible beans, edible cereals or edible leavesedible mossedible cacti and algae can be searched and if needed, prepared (mostly by boiling). With the exception of leaves, these foods are relatively high in calories, providing some energy to the body. Plants are some of the easiest food sources to find in the jungle, forest or desert because they are stationary and can thus be had without exerting much effort.[12] Skills and equipment (such as bows, snares and nets) are necessary to gather animal food in the wild include animal trappinghunting, and fishing.

Focusing on survival until rescued by presumed searchers, the Boy Scouts of America especially discourages foraging for wild foods on the grounds that the knowledge and skills needed are unlikely to be possessed by those finding themselves in a wilderness survival situation, making the risks (including use of energy) outweigh the benefits.[13]


Survival situations can often be resolved by finding a way to safety, or a more suitable location to wait for rescue. Types of navigation include:

  • Celestial navigation, using the sun and the night sky to locate the cardinal directions and to maintain course of travel
  • Using a mapcompass or GPS receiver
  • Dead reckoning
  • Natural navigation, using the condition of surrounding natural objects (i.e. moss on a tree, snow on a hill, direction of running water, etc.)

Mental preparedness

The mind and its processes are critical to survival. The will to live in a life-and-death situation often separates those that live and those that do not. Stories of heroic feats of survival by regular people with little or no training but a strong will to live are not uncommon. Among them is Juliane Koepcke, who was the sole survivor among the 93 passengers when her plane crashed in the jungle of Peru. Situations can be stressful to the level that even trained experts may be mentally affected. One should be mentally and physically tough during a disaster.

To the extent that stress results from testing human limits, the benefits of learning to function under stress and determining those limits may outweigh the downside of stress.[14] There are certain strategies and mental tools that can help people cope better in a survival situation, including focusing on manageable tasks, having a Plan B available and recognizing denial.[15]

Important survival items

Civilian pilots attending a Survival course at RAF Kinloss learn how to construct shelter from the elements, using materials available in the woodland on the north-east edge of the aerodrome.

Often survival practitioners will carry with them a “survival kit”. This consists of various items that seem necessary or useful for potential survival situations, depending on anticipated challenges and location. Supplies in a survival kit vary greatly by anticipated needs. For wilderness survival, they often contain items like a knife, water container, fire starting apparatus, first aid equipment, food obtaining devices (snare wire, fish hooks, firearms, or other,) a light, navigational aids, and signalling or communications devices. Often these items will have multiple possible uses as space and weight are often at a premium.

Survival kits may be purchased from various retailers or individual components may be bought and assembled into a kit.

Common myths

Some survival books promote the “Universal Edibility Test”.[16] Allegedly, it is possible to distinguish edible foods from toxic ones by a series of progressive exposures to skin and mouth prior to ingestion, with waiting periods and checks for symptoms. However, many experts including Ray Mears and John Kallas[17] reject this method, stating that even a small amount of some “potential foods” can cause physical discomfort, illness, or death.

Many mainstream survival experts have perpetuated the act of drinking urine in times of dehydration.[18] However, the United States Air Force Survival Manual (AF 64-4) instructs that this technique is a myth should never be applied. Several reasons include the high salt content of urine, potential contaminants, and sometimes bacteria growth, despite urine’s being generally “sterile“.

Many classic cowboy movies and even classic survival books suggest that sucking the venom out of a snake bite by mouth is an appropriate treatment. However, once the venom is injected into the blood stream, it cannot be sucked out and it may be dangerous to attempt to do so. If bitten by a venomous snake, the best chance of survival is to get to a hospital for treatment as quickly as possible.[19]

See also



  1. Jump up^ “12 Outdoor Survival Skills Every Guy Should Master”Men’s Fitness. 2017-09-28. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  2. Jump up^ “Wilderness Survival Skills”. 2017-09-28. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  3. Jump up^ Churchill, James E. The Basic Essentials of Survival. Merrillville, IN: ICS, 1989. Print.
  4. Jump up^ HowStuffWorks by Charles W. Bryant
  5. Jump up^ Water Balance; a Key to Cold Weather Survival by Bruce Zawalsky, Chief Instructor, BWI
  6. Jump up^ “Army Survival Manual; Chapter 13 – Page 2″. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  7. Jump up^ “U.S. Army Survival Manual FM 21-76, also known as FM 3-05.70 May 2002 Issue; drinking water”. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  8. Jump up^ “Water Discipline” at Survival Topics
  9. Jump up^ “US EPA”. Archived from the original on 29 December 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  10. Jump up^ “Wilderness Medical Society”. Retrieved 2011-10-21.[dead link]
  11. Jump up^ “Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources”. 11 March 2008. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  12. Jump up^ “Master The Great Outdoors”. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  13. Jump up^ Wilderness Survival Merit Badge pamphlet, January 2008, at 38
  14. Jump up^ Krieger, Leif. “How to Survive Any Situation”How to Survive Any Situation. Silvercrown Mountain Outdoor School.
  15. Jump up^ Leach, John (1994). Survival Psychology. NYU Press.
  16. Jump up^ US Army Survival Manual FM21-76 1998 Dorset press 9th printing ISBN 1-56619-022-3
  17. Jump up^ John Kallas, Ph.D., Director, Institute for the Study of Edible Wild Plants and Other Foragables. Biography[not in citation given] Archived 13 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. Jump up^ Peterson, Devin (2013). “Effects of Urine Consumption”SCS. DNM International. p. 1. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  19. Jump up^ Lawson, Malcolm (2013). “Top 10 Survival Myths Busted”SCS. DNM International. p. 1. Archived from the original on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2015.

Further reading

Further reading

External links

External links

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Magnesium is a cofactor for many enzymes involved in glucose metabolism

It is well-established that magnesium is a cofactor for many enzymes involved in glucose metabolism. For this reason, in the event that someone experiences a magnesium deficiency, his/her enzymes necessary for glucose metabolism may remain underactive.  The underactivity of glucose-metabolizing enzymes could lead to elevated blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia), as a byproduct of magnesium deficiency.

Research shows that increasing magnesium concentrations is capable of improving homeostatic glucose and insulin levels.  This is likely due to the fact that when magnesium intake increases (either through diet or supplementation), enzymes metabolize glucose more efficiently and less insulin secretion is necessary to shuttle glucose out of the bloodstream.  If your blood glucose levels spike unpredictably to high levels, it’s possible that a lack of magnesium in your diet could be a partial cause.

In fact, a study by Lal, Vasudev, Kela, and Jain (2003) discovered a greater occurrence of hypomagnesemia among persons with Type 2 diabetes than non-diabetic patients, indicative of the fact that chronically low magnesium may induce glucose abnormalities.  In the event that glucose abnormalities (e.g. hyperglycemia) result from an underlying magnesium deficiency, supplementation with magnesium could decrease severity or hyperglycemia via augmentation of enzymatic glucose metabolism, islet Beta-cell response, and reversal of insulin resistance.  Moreover, a vicious circle may occur in which hyperglycemia (resulting from low magnesium) exacerbates magnesium depletion (through frequent urination or insulin resistance), and the depletion of magnesium promotes increased likelihood of future hyperglycemia.

  • Source:
  • Source:
  • Source:

Full article about Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments read at

Magnesium rich foods

by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center >> CP0403MagnesiumRichFoods.pdf

Citicoline increases glucose metabolism

Citicoline increases glucose metabolism in the brain and cerebral blood flow. [1]

Cocaine dependence is associated with depleted dopamine levels in the central nervous system. In cocaine-dependent individuals citicoline increases brain dopamine levels and reduces cravings.[2]

In the general population citicoline increases brain responses to food stimuli, specifically in the amygdala, insula, and lateral orbitofrontal cortex, which correlate with decreased appetite.[3]

Natural synthesis

The brain prefers to use choline to synthesize acetylcholine. This limits the amount of choline available to synthesize phosphatidylcholine. When the availability of choline is low or the need for acetylcholine increases, phospholipids containing choline can be catabolized from neuronal membranes. These phospholipids include sphingomyelin and phosphatidylcholine. [4]

Food sources of Choline

  • Shrimp
  • Eggs
  • Scallops
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Tuna
  • Cod
  • Salmon
  • Beef
  • Collard Greens

Links for food sources of choline:

Chemical formula




  1. Watanabe S, Kono S, Nakashima Y, Mitsunobu K, Otsuki S (1975). “Effects of various cerebral metabolic activators on glucose metabolism of brain”. Folia Psychiatrica et Neurologica Japonica. 29 (1): 67–76.
  2. Renshaw PF, Daniels S, Lundahl LH, Rogers V, Lukas SE (Feb 1999). “Short-term treatment with citicoline (CDP-choline) attenuates some measures of craving in cocaine-dependent subjects: a preliminary report”. Psychopharmacology. 142 (2): 132–8.
  3. Killgore WD, Ross AJ, Kamiya T, Kawada Y, Renshaw PF, Yurgelun-Todd DA (Jan 2010). “Citicoline affects appetite and cortico-limbic responses to images of high-calorie foods”. The International Journal of Eating Disorders. 43 (1): 6–13.
  4. Adibhatla RM, Hatcher JF, Dempsey RJ (Jan 2002). “Citicoline: neuroprotective mechanisms in cerebral ischemia”. Journal of Neurochemistry. 80 (1): 12–23.

Divergent’s survival without stress medication 6 tips

Everyone loves divergent in movies, weather they climb mount Everest or run 1000 miles at once. Or kill all the bad guys. However mammals and birds are tended to execute everyone who’s behavior seems to be different from the crowd in real life. In the human society divergent ones are often drugged off because of their stress issues (created by the society itself) rather than being killed literally.

“Once there was a male who honestly revealed – the only dick worth to suck is his. Did any mammal suck it? No, they kicked his ass and nailed him on the cross.”

Nowadays a male demanding to be the alpha often ends up tighten to the bed and drugged off for couple of days. Wakes up in form of walking cabbage. Spends hundreds of dollars for medication to keep this state to the end of  his life, just to be safe for society.

This post is for divergent who want to live without stress management medication. And be socially successful, rather than being repeatedly kicked by dominant rivals or drugged off with meds, in order to keep society safe from different social behavior.

How to be socially successful and keep your ass safe while being a divergent?

The problem for all divergent is being over and under reactive to social interaction, both negative and positive. It is hard for divergent to keep balance in their lives. They are awful to build and keep social status high enough due to having less physical and mental balance and visual qualities than others.

Divergent’s survival tips in short:

  1. Divergent usually don’t care about their background. Keep an eye the quality you provide is better than guys in background do. Quality is essential but relative, start with poor but pure backgrounds.
  2. Keep your blood sugar low, others – high. This would provide the sharpest mind and decision making within a social group for you. Give them some sweets as a present. Sweets (like alcohol) would give just a feeling of performance when there is nothing real. High blood sugar goes together with imbalance.
  3. Train physical balance and spatial sense. Mental and physical balance is the same for the brain. Practice body balance exercises with closed eyes.
  4. Promise less give more. Rather promising the world and accomplishing nothing.
  5. Play low social status while exposing (displaying) high physical and visual quality. Usually divergent dressed in dud demand appreciation and alpha status rather than giving it.
  6. There might be a bad conscious attitude from a rival, keep your eyes open. Any social group hardly let someone climb the social hierarchy. They like things as they are. Old alphas want to keep their power for all costs. Divergent are the ones they can’t take in control. So they would try to eliminate such a person.

Grains Cause Opiate Effect In The Brain

When you remove wheat, rye and barley you will experience an opiate withdrawl. Things to expect are headaches, exhaustion, fatigue, depression and flu-like symptoms. In fact this withdrawl, or die-off, is often considered an Atkins flu or Paleo flu.

Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly

Foods That Cause Opiate Effect In The Brain

Addicted to milk and wheat.

Wim Hof Method Price Review

What a value has Wim Hof Method for its price?

Price of Wim Hof Method video course is $199 or €179. Isn’t it too much? There is just an advice to breath, meditate and touch some ice in the WHM.

If you are gonna have a fun day at the beach, buy it!  The bigger the price of WHM the bigger the immediate pleasure. Don’t miss it. Enjoy it!

Guys of Wim Hof’s Method have done great job of attracting people’s attention to WHM. Climbing mount Everest just in shorts isn’t a cheaply arrangeable event. It costs 30,000 $ as the very minimum doing it wearing just shorts of course.  Medical research also isn’t a low cost entertainment.

If you are gonna to make the long shoot, and to become the owner of the beach, not just a one who have some fun at it, than don’t buy it. Value is in what you become not what you buy. To become better with Wim Hof’s method you’ll have to implement particular actions as everyday’s habits.

Get more Wim Hof about on wikipedia or read the book Becoming the Iceman by Wim Hof.

Wim Hof Method is a way to suppress body’s stress reaction.

Most of the people are over reactive to stress situations. They waste their steroid hormones – cortisol and testosterone in seconds by diving into anaerobic catabolism of glicogen. So they are gonna die in the cold water or ice in a blink of an eye. And it is how they feel it. Staying in ice longer than an hour is mostly a marketing trick, as ice is a good heat insulator, liquid whater doesn’t. It would be a bit harder to swim in the icy water that long time of 80 minutes, as Wim Hof did to make the record.

Stress management methods are:

  • Exposure your body to icy water, cold shower taking for example. However openair swimming is much enjoyable.
  • Slow motion and balancing exercises, joga for example.
  • Practicing stillness in stressful situations, holding breath for example.
  • Give your muscles a workout. Swimming, running and bar exercises are the best.

Wim Hof method: price of WHM video course

Habit of Being Defensive

Being emotionally defensive is a bad habit unless there is a war outside.

I’d like to see dominance as leadership and submission as following a leader. Somehow defensive behavior prevents both to lead and to follow. After a while defender stays alone with chronically high cortisol (anxiety) and lack of oxytocin (trust). And the only way out is to binge on bad dopamine and serotonin habits to color the life in the entrenchment a bit.

Potencial followers won’t follow a leader who is taking defensive pose. This individual falls out of any pack sooner or later. No matter who is he trying to be – leader or follower.

Being emotionally defensive. Over Protected Knight. Image from

However, individual might be forced to take the defensive pose. It’s shows up like a curse for example. Spiritual practitioners use a clue in the emotional system to put victim in constant anxiety. Person do not know what he is defending and against whom. Long term stress depletes body. Individual is unable to lead productive life. He is always on alarm and defend something. Emotional chemistry works like there is a war outside. Serious health problems comes with in 10 years of being in “entrenchment” or sooner.

None Defensive Social Strategies

Emotional defensiveness might be replaced with either dominance (leadership) or submission (following a leader) in order to turn defensive anxiety off.

Defensiveness is like a middle stage of person’s social hierarchy positioning.

Being defensive illustrates instability of social status. It is crucial to have stable emotional connection with a social group. This helps calm the anxiety down.

  1. To take dominant position individual should always act by adding a value and space to his and other people lives. And to be patient waiting they choose to follow him.
  2. To take submissive position its enough to serve someone honestly. Over all the right way is to leave some profit of everything that comes in touch.
  • However in real life defensive people fall into binge of dopamine inducing habits. These are use of sweets, alcohol, drugs, watching TV, surfing internet, playing videogames. Use of verbal proofing of their value, criticizing and blaming of others, being cynic etc.. All of this stuff just to feel independent while defending a unreal entrenchment.

The Causes of Defensiveness

People react defensively because they anticipate or perceive a threat in their environment.

Defensive communication expert Jack Gibbs outlines six behavioral categories that create defensive responses in people:

  1. Dogmatism – Black and white, I’m right and you’re wrong, either/or, and other kinds of all or nothing thinking and communication cause people to react defensively.
  2. Lack of accountability – Shifting blame, making excuses, and rationalizing behavior leads people to raise their defense levels.
  3. Controlling/Manipulative – Using all sorts of behaviors to control or manipulate people will lead to defensive behavior.
  4. Guarded/Withholding Information – When people feel like they are being left in the dark or purposely excluded from having information they should know, they are threatened and will react defensively.
  5. Superiority – Want someone to be defensive? Then act like you’re better than him/her, lord your power, knowledge, or position over them and see how they respond.
  6. Critical – A constant focus on catching people doing something wrong, rather than right, creates a climate of defensiveness.

How to Deal With Other People’s Defensive Behavior

Some people’s defensiveness is so deeply rooted in their behavioral patterns that there is little realistic chance they will permanently change. However, there are some helpful strategies we can use to deal with defensiveness:

  • Re-frame the behavior – Explore why the person is feeling threatened and work to address the threat(s). One of the reasons we get so frustrated with defensive people is we try to deal with the behavior without addressing the threat that is causing the behavior.
  • Reduce the danger – Once you’ve identified the threat(s) causing the defensive behavior, work to reduce the perceived danger. Be moderate in your tone, even-tempered, empathize with their concerns, be respectful, and respond non-defensively to avoid escalating tensions.
  • Replace negative feedback with questions or offers to help – If you have to regularly deal with someone who reacts defensively, you’ve probably noticed that the slightest bit of negative feedback sets them off. Replace the negative feedback with a question or an offer to help.
    For example, instead of saying “Sally, you made a mistake on this report,” rephrase it by saying “Sally, I’m not sure I understand this section on the report. Could you help me figure it out?”

    Remember, a person acts defensively because he/she perceives a threat. Try to make the situation non-threatening.

  • Avoid forced choice – The less people feel boxed in to either/or, yes/no, right/wrong choices, the less threatening the situation.
  • Treat people with humility – Approach other people in a collaborative manner, looking for ways to help them win in the situation. Take time to identify and recognize their needs, discover what’s important to them, and validate their concerns.

Defensiveness destroys relationships from the inside-out. It creates a climate of contention and tension that eventually leads to a loss of trust, alienation, and separation. Identifying the root of defensiveness in our relationships, and working toward addressing and removing those issues, will help improve the overall quality and the productivity of our relationships.

Search for more of being defensive on Google >>

Cold shower taking

Taking cold shower is a good way to normalize your cortisol and dopamine level. It makes cold mind literally. Cold water creates huge spike of cortisol to handle the shock. Body learns to calm down to keep its energy in cold environment. Long term result of icy shower is impressive stress resistance in everyday’s life. Cold shower also stops you from binging on dopamine boosting habits and keeps your motivation in optimal range.

Do not take cold shower if

You are exhausted or feeling sick. Fatigue says your cortisol resource is already depleted. Adding a shocking stress to tiredness may leave you with dangerously low steroid hormone level after. It opens a time window for viruses and bacteria to activate and attack your body.

Search for more on Google >>

Social Status – 9 tips to raise it

Exposing higher Social Status

  1. Expose confidence. For social status it means the right way to do something is the way you are doing it. Pretend you have no errors. If someone points to an error – ignore it with even more confidence.
  2. Ignore others around you. The highest social status goes for someone who is followed by all others of the group. Leader looks forward beyond the borders or a particular follower. However this is only to fool a strayed sheep. when you are not the leader de facto, but wants to use it’s privileges of high social status person.
  3. Keep your shoulders down and legs together. Eliminate all submissive gestures off of your image.
  4. If you gaze away first – don’t look back, ignore that person to save your status and your life if that’s a polar bear.
  5. Keep your head still when talking. Stillness is the sign of confidence.

Social Status seeker begs for help

Building social status

  1. Don’t share your attention with a attention demander outside your focus and your social group. Even it is a gratitude towards you, it might be just a deliberate emotional attack to make you overconfident and act like fool. Keep focused on your aims no mater what.
  2. Never be defensive or binge on proofing your ideas. Ignore, attack or show your loyalty to opponent.
  3. Create steady pressure to others by taking their attention to you.
  4. Give presents and share attention to your followers and your leader as well. Otherwise they might fall into the ADHD. Blocking attention to followers is widely practiced social tactics in black psychology used by wizards, healers, fortune-tellers and other social magic staff.

Suggested Books for Social status:

  1. Loretta Graziano Breuning “I’mammal“ why your brain links status and happiness.
  2. Cesar Millan “Be the Pack Leader
  3. Keith Johnstone “Impro – improvisation and the theatre“


Definition of a Neurotransmitter

Neurotransmitters are types of hormones in the brain that transmit information from one neuron to another. They are made by amino acids. Neurotransmitters control major body functions including movement, emotional response, and the physical ability to experience pleasure and pain. The most familiar neurotransmitters which are thought to play a role in mood regulation are serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, acetylcholine, and GABA.

Neurotransmitter Effects on Mental Health:

  • Modulate mood and thought processes
  • Control ability to focus, concentrate, and remember things
  • Control the appetite center of the brain
  • Regulate sleep

Types of Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters can be broadly classified into two categories; excitatory and inhibitory. Some neurotransmitters can serve both functions.

Excitatory neurotransmitters are the nervous system’s “on switches”, increasing the likelihood that an excitatory signal is sent. They act like a car’s accelerator, revving up the engine. Excitatory transmitters regulate many of the body’s most basic functions including: thought processes, the body’s fight or flight response, motor movement and higher thinking. Physiologically, the excitatory transmitters act as the body’s natural stimulants, generally serving to promote alertness, energy, and activity. Without a functioning inhibitory system to put on the brakes, things can get out of control.

Neurotransmitters, Dopamine

Inhibitory neurotransmitters are the nervous system’s “off switches”, decreasing the likelihood that an excitatory signal is sent. Excitation in the brain must be balanced with inhibition. Too much excitation can lead to restlessness, irritability, insomnia, and even seizures. Inhibitory transmitters regulate the activity of the excitatory neurotransmitters, much like the brakes on a car. The inhibitory system slows things down. Physiologically, the inhibitory transmitters act as the body’s natural tranquilizers, generally serving to induce sleep, promote calmness, and decrease aggression.

Excitatory neurotransmitters

  • Dopamine
  • Histamine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine
  • Glutamate
  • Acetylcholine

Inhibitory neurotransmitters

  • GABA
  • Dopamine
  • Serotonin
  • Acetylcholine
  • Taurine

Neurotransmitter Overview

  • Acetylchlorine helps with memory and learning.
  • Dopamine is primarily responsible for sex drive, mood, alertness, and movement.
  • Norepinephrine and epinephrine influence alertness, arousal, and mood.
  • Serotonin is involved in mood, appetite control, emotional balance, and impulse control.
  • GABA helps with relaxation and sedation.


Acetylcholine release can be excitatory or inhibitory depending on the type of tissue and the nature of the receptor with which it interacts. Acetylcholine plays numerous roles in the nervous system. Its primary action is to stimulate the skeletal muscular system. It is the neurotransmitter used to cause voluntary muscle contraction or relaxation in the muscles.

In the brain, acetylcholine is involved in learning and memory. Acetylcholine is a small molecule transmitter that is also found in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. The hippocampus is responsible for memory and memory retrieval. Alzheimer’s disease is associated with a lack of acetylcholine in certain regions of the brain.


Dopamine can act as both an excitatory or inhibitory neurotransmitter and functions as the brain’s “feel good” neurotransmitter. It is part of the brain’s reward system and creates feelings of satisfaction or pleasure when we do things we enjoy, such as eating or having sex. Drugs like cocaine, nicotine, opiates, heroin, and alcohol increase the levels of dopamine. Eating foods that taste good and having sex also stimulate an increase in dopamine levels. For this reason, many surmise that a deficient level of dopamine in the brain may be behind peoples’ tendencies to use drugs, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, be promiscuous, gamble or overeat.

Dopamine’s functions are diverse, affecting memory, motor control, and pleasure. It allows us to be alert and motivated and to feel satisfied. Dopamine is associated with positive stress states such as being in love, exercising, listening to music, and sex. Once produced, dopamine can, in turn, convert into the brain chemicals norepinephrine and epinephrine.

Adderall has unfortunately been labeled “a study drug.”
Adderall has unfortunately been labeled “a study drug.”

A drug Adderall boosts dopamine levels helping to stay focused on task whatever it is. It’s so effective that Adderall has unfortunately been labeled “a study drug.” The journal Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review reported that 17 percent of college students misuse Adderall mainly in an effort to improve academic performance. However artificially elevated dopamine level causes serious imbalance to brain’s neurochemistry and further to hormonal system. More about Adderall misuse read at

High levels

However, too much of a good thing can be bad for you. An increased level of dopamine in the frontal lobe of the brain contributes to the incoherent and disrupted thought processes that are characteristic of schizophrenia. Excessive levels of dopamine cause our thinking to become excited, energized, then suspicious and paranoid as we are hyperstimulated by our environment. With low levels of dopamine we lose the ability to focus. When dopamine levels are too high our focus becomes narrowed and intense. High dopamine levels have been observed in patients with poor gastrointestinal function, autism, mood swings, aggression, psychosis, anxiety, hyperactivity, and children with attention disorders.

Low levels

Too little dopamine in the motor areas of the brain are responsible for Parkinson’s disease, which involves uncontrollable muscle tremors. A decline in dopamine levels in the thinking areas of the brain is linked to cognitive problems (learning and memory deficits), poor concentration, difficulty initiating or completing tasks, impaired ability to “lock onto” tasks, activities, or conversations, lack of energy, lack of motivation, inability to “feel alive”, addictions, cravings, compulsions, a loss of satisfaction in activities which previously pleased you, and slowed motor movements.


Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, is an excitatory neurotransmitter. It is derived from norepinephrine and is secreted along with norepinephrine in response to fear or anger. This reaction, referred to as the “fight or flight” response, prepares the body for strenuous activity. Epinephrine regulates attentiveness, arousal, cognition, sexual arousal, and mental focus. It is also responsible for regulating the metabolism. Epinephrine is used medicinally as a stimulant in cardiac arrest, as a vasoconstrictor in shock, as a bronchodilator and antispasmodic in bronchial asthma, and anaphylaxis.

High levels

Epinephrine levels which are too high can result in restlessness, anxiety, sleep problems, acute stress, and ADHD. Excess amounts of epinephrine can also raise the blood pressure, increase the heart rate, cause irritability and insomnia.

Low levels

Low levels of epinephrine can also contribute to weight gain, fatigue, lack of focus, decreased sexual arousal, and poor concentration.

Stress tends to deplete our store of adrenalin (epinephrine), while exercise tends to increase it.


GABA is the abbreviation for Gamma-aminobutyric acid. GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and plays a major role in regulating anxiety and reducing stress. GABA has a calming effect on the brain and helps the brain filter out “background noise”. It improves mental focus while calming the nerves. GABA acts like a brake to the excitatory neurotransmitters which can cause anxiety if the system is overstimulated. It regulates norepinephrine, adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin and is a significant mood modulator. The primary function of GABA is to prevent overstimulation.

High levels

Excessive GABA levels result in excessive relaxation and sedation, to the point that normal reactions are impaired.

Low levels

Insufficient GABA results in the brain being overstimulated. People with too little GABA tend to suffer from anxiety disorders and may have a predisposition to alcoholism. Low levels of GABA are associated with bipolar disorder, mania, poor impulse control, epilepsy, and seizure disorders. Since proper GABA functioning is required to induce relaxation, analgesia, and sleep, dysfunction of the GABA system is implicated in the pathophysiology of several neuropsychiatric disorders, including anxiety and depression. In 1990, a study linked lowered levels of GABA to a predisposition to alcoholism. When men of alcoholic fathers with low GABA drank a glass of vodka their GABA levels rose to the equivalent of the control group.


Glutamate is a major excitatory neurotransmitter that is associated with learning and memory. It is also thought to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Glutamate has been implicated in epileptic seizures and is a key molecule in cellular metabolism. It is also one of the major food components that provides flavor. Glutamate is found in all protein-containing foods such as cheese, milk, mushrooms, meat, fish, and many vegetables. Monosodium glutamate is a sodium salt of glutamate.

High levels

Excessive levels of glutamate are toxic to neurons and have been implicated in the development of neurological disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Huntington’s chorea, peripheral neuropathies, chronic pain, schizophrenia, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease.

Low levels

Insufficient levels of glutamate may play a role in impaired memory and learning.


Histamine is most commonly known for its role in allergic reactions but it is also involved in neurotransmission and can affect your emotions and behavior as well. Histamine helps control the sleep-wake cycle and promotes the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine.

High levels

High histamine levels have been linked to obsessive compulsive tendencies, depression, and headaches.

Low levels

Low histamine levels can contribute to paranoia, low libido, fatigue, and medication sensitivities.

MonoaminesThis is a class of neurotransmitters which includes serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA, glutamate, and dopamine. The monoamine hypothesis holds that mood disorders are caused by depletion in the levels of one or more of these neurotransmitters.


Norepinephrine is an excitatory neurotransmitter that is important for attention and focus. Norepinephrine is synthesized from dopamine and is strongly associated with bringing our nervous systems into the “fight or flight” state. Norepinephrine triggers the release of hormones from the limbic section of the brain that signal other stress hormones to act in a crisis. It can raise blood pressure and increase heart rate. It can elevate the metabolic rate, body temperature and stimulate the smooth bronchial muscles to assist breathing. It is also important for forming memories.

High levels

Elevated norepinephrine activity seems to be a contributor to anxiety. Also, brain norepinephrine turnover is increased in conditions of stress. Increased levels of norepinephrine will lead to alertness and mood elevation and increased sexual interest. However, high amounts raise blood pressure, increase heart rate, and cause anxiety, fear, panic, stress, hyperactivity, an overwhelming sense of dread, irritability, and insomnia.

Low levels

Low levels of norepinephrine are linked to lack of energy, focus, and motivation. Insufficient norepinephrine levels also contribute to depression, loss of alertness, and poor memory.


PEA is an excitatory neurotransmitter made from phenylalanine. It is important in focus and concentration.

High levels

Elevated PEA levels are observed in individuals experiencing “mind racing”, sleep problems, anxiety, and schizophrenia.

Low levels

Low PEA is associated with difficulty paying attention or thinking clearly, and in depression


Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of mood, anxiety, libido, compulsivity, headaches, aggression, body temperature, eating disorders, social anxiety, phobias, sleep, appetite, memory and learning, cardiovascular function, muscle contraction, and endocrine regulation. Other brain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, also influence mood and arousal. However, serotonin generally has different effects.

Serotonin plays a major role in sleep and mood regulation. Proper amounts of circulating serotonin promote relaxation. Stress reduces our serotonin levels as our body uses up serotonin in an attempt to calm itself.

Low levels

Low levels of serotonin can result in depressed mood, anxiety, panic attacks, low energy, migraines, sleeping problems, obsessions or compulsions, feeling tense and irritable, craving sweets or loss of appetite, impaired memory and concentration, angry or aggressive behavior, slowed muscle movement, slowed speech, altered sleep patterns, and having a reduced interest in sex.

High levels

Excess amounts of serotonin cause sedation, a decrease in sexual drive, a sense of well-being, bliss, and of being one with the universe. However, if serotonin levels become too high they can result in Serotonin Syndrome, which can be fatal.

Serotonin Syndrome

Extremely high levels of serotonin can be toxic and possibly fatal, causing a condition known as “Serotonin Syndrome”. It is very difficult to reach these high levels by overdosing on a single antidepressant, but combining different agents known to increase levels of Serotonin, such as an SSRI and an MAOI, can result in this condition. Taking recreational Ecstasy can also have this effect, but rarely leads to toxicity. Serotonin Syndrome produces violent trembling, profuse sweating, insomnia, nausea, teeth chattering, chilling, shivering, aggressiveness, over-confidence, agitation, and malignant hyperthermia. Emergency medical treatment is required, utilizing medications that neutralize or block the action of serotonin.

Factors affecting serotonin production

Your hormones and Estrogen levels can affect serotonin levels and this may explain why some women have pre-menstrual and menopausal mood problems. Moreover, daily stress can greatly reduce your serotonin supplies.

While exercise and exposure to light may increase or stimulate serotonin levels, antidepressants can aid the brain to replenish its own supply. The most recent SSRI antidepressants, (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are current drugs of choice to increase serotonin circulation.


Taurine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter involved in neuromodulatory and neuroprotective actions. Supplementing with taurine can increase GABA function. By helping GABA function, taurine is an important neuromodulator for prevention of anxiety. The relevance of GABA support is to prevent overstimulation due to high levels of excitatory amino acids, such as norepinephrine and epinephrine. Therefore, taurine and GABA constitute an important protective mechanism against excessive excitatory neurotransmitters.

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