The physiology of neurons

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, you will be able to:


  • demonstrate knowledge of basic concepts regarding the physiology of the nervous system


  • discuss the function of the cells of the nervous system


  • describe how cells in the nervous system communicate with each other


  • explain how neurotransmitters are synthesised and degraded, and describe their roles in the nervous system


  • describe how synapses are structured and the role this plays in their function


  • list the various receptor types and describe their modes of action.


Module introduction

The brain is a complex yet fascinating organ. Subtle changes in structure or function can lead to a range of symptoms – as clinicians we both classify and modulate these manifestations using different treatments.


Knowledge of the basic structure and function of the nervous system will enhance your understanding of the complex interplay between psychotropic drugs and the brain, including both therapeutic and side-effects.


Familiarity with the different cells, chemicals and processes that make up both the central and peripheral nervous system is essential to an understanding of the ‘healthy’ brain and the mechanisms at play when insult, injury or illness is present.


In this module we will take a look at the main components of the nervous system and how they communicate with each other. We hope that this will enable you to have a wider understanding of the processes that underpin certain psychiatric illnesses and treatments.


Learning notes

We recommend that you make some notes as you work through this module.We recommend that you make some notes as you work through this module.


The 'TrOn Notebook' facility can be accessed throughout the module (allowing you to make notes on each page), and these notes will be saved in your personal area 'My TrOn', for future reference. However, you will not be able to print these notes as one single document.


If you would prefer to make your notes in a separate document you may wish to download the 'learning notes' below. This downloadable Word document will allow you to keep a personalised record of your learning, which you can then save and/or print for future reference.


Download the learning notes document for this module


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