How are Serotonin and Depression Related?

Depression can present itself in insurmountable ways. If left untreated, depression can affect our ability to function. Today, I’ll touch on some of the symptoms of depression I dealt with and how I ultimately overcame them.

One of the most commonly reported themes of depression is a lack of motivation to do absolutely anything. We can go from goal-oriented and extensively motivated people to locking ourselves in our room without a simple regard for how things are going to play out. And thus presents serotonin and instant-gratification measures.

Serotonin (or the lack thereof) can wreck havoc in our lives. Commonly referred to as the “happy chemical”, serotonin is one of the many brain chemicals. It is known to be responsible for happiness, fulfillment, maintaining a sleep schedule, sexual desire and well-being. Stating the obvious here: it’s essential.

Those who have a persistent lack of serotonin binding in the corresponding neural cavities experience what’s referred to as clinical depression (or Major Depressive Disorder). Psychologists often overmedicate for this disorder by using multiple antidepressants or SSRI’s. SSRI’s (short for selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) are a medication that claims to bind freely mingling serotonin to its respective cavities. This isn’t a pharmaceutical way of inducing serotonin; it simply takes what you already have and binds it to it’s home. Once this medication is prescribed and began, it can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks to show positive effects.

Not to mention that there are genetic predispositions people can carry that present a case of treatment-resistant depression, meaning that most forms of medical treatment will hardly improve the condition.

Let’s consider an individual with MDD, specifically treatment-resistant depression. They work 9:00-5:00 at a retail store and can’t seem to find simple hope for the day. They have social outlets, they exercise and even eat healthily. They lead what’s referred to as a normal life but can’t find fulfillment or happiness at any point thoughout the day. Thus, they are lacking motivation for life. They go home and turn to instant gratification activities that help supplement their lack of “feel good” brain chemicals.

These activities often include the following: binge eating junk food, spending hours on social media, video game addiction, social isolation, inconsistent sexual desires, etc. As you can see, most of these activities are simply a by-product of depression which is a by-product of a lack of serotonin.

During my depressive episode, I experienced a number of symptoms despite having been on SSRI’s for years. My depression got worse and worse. My subsequent instant-gratification activities became much more condensed and consistent. My life was falling apart because of a chemical. Then I decided to take my condition into my own hands. I would no longer be ridiculed by doctors or psychologists for my pre-disposition and my incapability to be happy. I would no longer tolerate being talked down to.

I broke free; I became me again. Stay tuned for more.

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