Structure and Function of Neurons
Neurons are the cells of chemical communication in the brain. Human brains comprise tens of billions of neurons, each linked to thousands of other neurons. Thus, the brain has trillions of specialized connections known as synapses. Neurons have many sizes, lengths, and shapes, which determine their functions. Localization within the brain also determines function. When neurons malfunction, behavioral symptoms may occur. When drugs alter neuronal function, behavioral symptoms may be relieved, worsened, or produced. Thus, this chapter briefly describes the structure and function of normal neurons as a basis for understanding psychiatric disorders and their treatments.