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Serotonin and Depression

Before one can delve into the connection between serotonin and depression, it is imperative to understand the causes of depression and diagnosis for bipolar disorder. Most of these psychological disorders are often a mixture of genetic, biological and environmental factors. While genetic factors are passed on from generation to generation, biological factors may lie dormant in the individual for a very long time without one knowing about it. Environmental factors play the role of a trigger to activate genetic or biological predispositions. These are often caused by traumatic life events or experiences.

Biological Factors

Biological factors and causes of depression are the best way to understand the connection between serotonin and depression along with its relation to eustress as well. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps the brain perform various functions including temperature regulation, sleep, appetite, learning, memory, appetite, sexual activity, muscle activity, endocrine regulation and lots more. The importance of serotonin becomes increasingly clear when observing its importance in various bodily functions. However, one of the most important functions of serotonin is mood regulation. Since depression is a mood disorder, it comes as no surprise that low levels of serotonin are often commonly seen in patients suffering from depression. This connection between serotonin and depression is not a rarity as it is seen in most, if not all patients of depression.

Serotonin Importance

Serotonin goes well beyond controlling mere biological functions as it taps into various psychological factors as well. Mood regulation is one of the most important functions of serotonin as it helps individuals balance between extreme mania and the lowest pits of depression. However, the importance of serotonin goes well beyond the correlation between serotonin and depression. Low levels of serotonin are known to be responsible for several psychologically rooted problems such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, OCD, bulimia, anorexia and several other social phobias.

Serotonin Levels

In this light, it is safe to say that though low serotonin levels may not be the direct cause of depression, it is often seen as a coexisting factor in most patients of depression. The relation between serotonin and depression is rather paradoxical in the sense that it is still not clear whether serotonin deficiency comes first or depression. Whether low serotonin causes depression or the onset of depression leads to serotonin deficiency is a mystery yet to be solved.

History of Depression

The long history of depression has included several changes in approach to the disease and its causes. While the disease was considered to be a character condition for quite some time, the biological connection between serotonin and depression is becoming increasingly clear. Evidence regarding the importance of serotonin continues to build on as the body of knowledge around depression and its causal factors continues to grow. The success of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or SSRI’s is one of the many pieces of evidence that supports the theory of the role of low serotonin in patients of depression. Once these inhibitors come into action, serotonin re-uptake is blocked which increases the activity of serotonin leading to relief from depression symptoms. This is only one example of the many studies and pieces of scientific evidence that consolidate the correlation between depression and serotonin.