We are living in a stressful, fast-paced society. The western world is recovering from a devastating economic recession, and most people have been forced to work longer hours than ever before. As excessive stress and getting less than seven hours of sleep each night make it difficult for the body to make enough serotonin to maintain normal levels. It is no surprise that more men and women than ever before are suffering from low serotonin symptoms, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, and others that are discussed below.
Brain Function and Serotonin Definition
Various chemicals, called neurotransmitters, control different functions and states of the body and mind, by sending signals to receptor cells in the brain, called neurons. Many physical diseases, and the majority of mental diseases, are caused by the abnormal functioning of neurotransmitters, often by levels that are too low or too high. Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters that control most mental states, and too much or too little of either cause mental illness. For example, schizophrenia is a result of too much dopamine.
Serotonin is responsible for some physical conditions, including body temperature and bone mass, but it is best known for its role in the regulation of happiness, well-being, calmness, and sleep. While low serotonin causes depression, nervousness, and sleeplessness, too much serotonin causes a condition called serotonin syndrome, that can be life threatening.
Too much serotonin symptoms vary from pupil dilation, agitation and twitching, tachycardia (increased heart rate), and fever, to severe hyperthermia (temperatures of 41.5º Celsius/106º Fahrenheit), seizure, and renal failure. Serotonin syndrome long-term effects include kidney problems and muscle rigidity (painful stiffness). Serotonin syndrome symptoms arise when the interaction between two or more drugs – usually an antidepressant and one or more other substances – cause the body to produce too much serotonin, and the chemical becomes toxic.
Low Serotonin Symptoms: The Eight “S’s”
Two or more of the following symptoms may indicate you are suffering from low serotonin:
1. Persistent Sadness
Sadness persists beyond the usual time that it takes to recover from an unfortunate event, such as the death of a loved one or a break-up with a partner, or, you feel sad despite the lack of any circumstances in your life that could explain such unhappiness.
2. Loss of Sex Drive
You have lost interest in sex, and have little or no desire to participate in sexual activity.
3. Low Self-Confidence
Your self-esteem is low and you lack self-confidence. You may feel like you are losing your personalitiy, as previous self-assuredness, as well as interest in work and leisure activities fades away.
4. Social Withdrawal
You have stopped spending time with your family and friends, choosing to be alone. You have trouble connecting with others, and often isolate yourself. You have lost the motivation to be in social groups, and also feel unmotivated to work, do hobbies, or even bathe and take care of your appearance.
5. Feeling Sensitive
You are irritable, and overly sensitive to comments that you interpret negatively, though others do not, and your emotions are easily stirred. You experience crying spells, which may happen for what seems like no reason.
6. Inability to Sleep
Sleep and serotonin are very closely connected. You feel tired all of the time, but have trouble sleeping. This insomnia is a double-edged sword, as serotonin is replenished during REM sleep, which does not occur if you only get a couple of hours of sleep each night, or if sleep is frequently interrupted.
7. Sore Muscles and Joints
Body pain is often experienced – your muscles ache and/or your joints are stiff. Low serotonin symptoms are not only mental, but often also include physical discomfort.
8. Stomach Troubles
Stomach pains are common, and so are changes in appetite. You may have lost your appetite, or your hunger may have increased. In particular, you may crave carbohydrates or sugary foods.
The more of these eight statements that describe the way you have been feeling, the more likely it is that low serotonin is the cause. Luckily, there are many remedies available to treat serotonin imbalance symptoms. Adding tryptophan foods to your diet, taking herbal supplements that increase serotonin, and having your doctor prescribe a medication that acts upon serotonin, are all options.
Here is a Fun Video that Explains the Science of Serotonin, Low Serotonin Causes and Other Effects Serotonin has on Individual and Social Life:
Originally posted 2012-11-19 11:49:42. Republished by Blog Post Promoter