DEPRESSION AND YOUR NEUROTRANSMITTERS (SEROTONIN, NOREPINEPRHINE, AND DOPAMINE): WHAT’S THE CONNECTION?
By Valerie Balandra ARNP,BC and Dr. Dave
Depression is one of the most common of all mental illnesses. Fortunately, it is also one of the most treatable. One in four women and one in 10 men can expect to develop it during their lifetime.
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Studies have shown that people suffering from depression have imbalances of neurotransmitters, natural substances that allow brain cells to communicate with one another. Many transmitters can be involved but the three major ones you likely have heard the most about are serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
Because neurotransmitters are functionally integrated with the endocrine system (including the adrenal glands) and the immune system, neurotransmitter imbalances can cause widespread health problems, not just depression. If you are experiencing any of the following, your neurotransmitters may be out of balance:
- Depressed mood
- Sleep difficulties
- Changes in appetite and sudden weight loss/gain
- Adrenal depletion
- “Brain fog” (issues with memory, attention, and ability to concentrate)
- Inability to enjoy previously pleasurable activities
- Food cravings
- Mental obsessions
- Behavioral compulsions
- GI distress
If you suffer from any or all of these symptoms, you would benefit from having your neurotransmitters tested. If you have already been tested, now might be a good time to see if the measures you have since taken are moving you and your neurotransmitters in the right direction.
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