On Mood Swings: The Psychobiology of Elation and Depression

By Susanne P. Schad-Somers | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
The Biology of Cell
Communication

Perhaps the simplest and therefore most elegant definition of biology is that it is the science of how cells communicate with each other. How does it happen that the abstract concept of "duty" originating in our mind results in the actual movement of first one leg and then another out of a warm bed and onto a cold floor? What, physiologically, takes place when an acute, painful sensation in a man's chest produces the abstract mental image of the number 911, to call for an ambulance? How can a dream image of a ferocious lion produce a rise in blood pressure and rapid heart beat? In other words, what we would like to explain is how, for example, the concept of work as God-pleasing activity, toil, torture, or whatever, can be translated from an image in the brain—a concept—to a set of actions on the part of the foot, resulting in our getting out of bed on a cold, rainy morning. Conversely, physiological messages from the toe can reach the brain and produce images, thoughts, and feelings of such complexity as, for example, to go searching for a pair of nail clippers to alleviate the pain from an ingrown toenail. Without connections between the brain, mind, and the rest of the body, multicellular organisms could not exist.

What we call mental or emotional processes, thoughts, feelings, affects, and images, are physical events. Otherwise they

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On Mood Swings: The Psychobiology of Elation and Depression
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Foreword vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Contents xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - Jack the Wrong Kind of Help 17
  • Chapter Two - Portraits 23
  • Chapter Three - History 65
  • Chapter Four - Psyche 85
  • Chapter Five - The Biology of Cell Communication 99
  • Chapter Six - Psychobiology 125
  • Chapter Seven - The Acquisition of Mood Regulation in the Human Infant 148
  • Chapter Eight - How Psychotherapy Heals 178
  • Chapter Nine - Special Problems 209
  • Chapter Ten - Case Material 231
  • Postscript Behavioral Medicine 253
  • References 259
  • Index 275
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