What You’ll Learn
- The Chemical Imbalance Theory
- Why Current Treatment Options Often Make Depression Worse
- How to Stabilize Neurotransmitter Imbalances
The Chemical Imbalance Theory
Could a neurotransmitter imbalance be causing your depression? Neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and serotonin are chemicals that help with the communication between nerve cells. As the chemical imbalance theory goes, when these neurotransmitters are out of balance (either in a deficit or excess) symptoms such as moodiness, anxiety, and depression result.
Despite the widely held belief that this theory is bunk, rebalancing the appropriate brain chemicals can alleviate the symptoms. In fact, this is how certain classes of prescription antidepressant medications function.
Symptoms of Depression
Whether or not major depression and anxiety stem from a neurotransmitter imbalance, when these chemicals are out of balance, the generally accepted symptoms include feelings of sadness, loss of appetite, lethargy, restlessness, irritability, and feelings of despair and helplessness, changes in mood, energy, and sociability; all classic symptoms of depression.
Correcting a Neurotransmitter Imbalance
Integrative Health Practitioner and Instagram influencer Pedro DoAmaral walks us through the common misconceptions surrounding neurotransmitter imbalances and explains why, when it comes to depression, we must consider every factor at play, from our microbiome and gut health to our diet, mold exposure, stress levels, and even emotional wellbeing.
So, how can we stabilize our possible neurotransmitter imbalances and potentially stabilize our mood? According to Pedro, “by taking something like 5-hydroxytryptophan, you actually may worsen your anxiety— being that it works the same way as the SSRI antidepressants. They create too much serotonin; not enough is uptaken by the clefts and so you start to get migraines because it acts with estrogen to become a vasoconstrictor and it constricts the arteries next to the trigeminal nerve, which creates this migraine feeling…
“So all this time, we’re prescribing medication that increases serotonin when the true medication, the Psilocybin and LSD and so on, that works against depression, decreases serotonin. Just by this misconception alone I think we’ve worsened a lot of people’s mental health, worsened anxiety, worsened depression, telling them to take St John’s wort, 5-HTP, certain monoamine boosters in prevention of oxidase inhibitors, and so on. The things that break down the monoamines in general, if you don’t allow the breakdown of these monoamines, they’re just going to keep recirculating and causing problems.”
A biomedical and biotechnology student at Keiser University, Pedro DoAmaral is also an integrative health practitioner.
Connect with Pedro DoAmaral
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