How the Neurotransmitter Serotonin Affects Depression

Depression is a mental diagnosis that can be described as repetitive feelings of sadness, miserable, unhappy or just overall “down”. Most of us have feelings of depression based on different life situations however it can become consuming and overcome your mind. Anyone with feelings of sadness or unhappy over periods of months should know there are ways to avoid this feeling.

There are many causes of depression that are mostly influenced by other causes. This is referred to as secondary depression or simplified it means that something else is causing the depression. Examples of secondary depression include alcohol or drug abuse, insomnia, stressful life events such as a divorce, death of a family member, social isolation, etc.

Primary depression is caused by a malfunction or imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. The neurotransmitter serotonin is extremely important to be balanced in the brain and could be a primary cause of depression. Depression has been linked to decreased levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin since serotonin is associated with feelings of empathy, happiness and euphoria (overall feeling of well being and happiness).

A neurotransmitter is a substance usually in the central nervous system, where the brain resides, that transmits signals between neurons that influences how the neurons act. These substances all have different affects on how the neurons act. Serotonin is a key neurotransmitter within the brain that influences people’s feelings and emotions. Serotonin is responsible for many functions throughout the human body depending on where the serotonin is located. In the brain, serotonin acts to give the person a feeling of happiness and empathy. For example in the stomach serotonin acts to control how the stomach works.

One class of medications that are used to treat clinically diagnosed depression are called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This class of medications acts to increase levels of serotonin in the brain with the theory that increased levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin will lead to overcoming the feelings of depression. If you have any problems with feeling of loneliness or unhappy, you should consult a doctor or therapist which is a key concept in treatment of depression.