Chemical Imbalance and Depression

Chemical Imbalance and Depression Melissa Creamer PSYC 3002- Developing a Psychology Perspective Project Draft – Persuasive Paper Capella University [email protected] edu October 2012 Introduction According to some Psychologists, chemical imbalance can lead to depression and other mental illnesses. It is very unclear that depression is one of the possible symptoms of a chemical imbalance. However, chemical imbalance doesn’t lead to every kind of depression seen in the lives of many people. Admin,2012) Approximately five percent of the United States’ population experiences a depressive episode that requires psychopharmacological treatment; in any one year, ten to twelve million Americans are affected by depression, with the condition twice as common in females than in males. (Ho, 2002) We all have chemical signals that are called neurotransmitters and they come in a variety of forms like Serotonin, Dopamine, and Norepinephrine. All three of these neurotransmitters play a very important role in maintaining normal mood, motivation and concentration.
What is Serotonin? Serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter, a type of chemical that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another. (Bouchez, 2007) In depressed brains, the Serotonin signal had been somehow weakened because of a chemical imbalance in the neurotransmitters. (Mukherjee, 2012) Low Serotonin levels are often attributed to anxiety, depression, panic attacks, insomnia, obesity, eating disorders, migraines, and alcohol abuse. (Integrative Psychiatry, 2012)Treatment for increasing levels of Serotonin in the brain are medication like Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil.
These medications are known to work by making more serotonin in the brain. (Carver, 2002) If we have too much Serotonin you will have this feeling of bliss and it can also produce a life threatening condition known as Serotonin Syndrome. To date there have been no recorded or documented studies proving that the brain levels of Serotonin or any neurotransmitter are in short supply when depression or any mental illness develops. (Bouchez, 2007) Serotonin can be measured in the blood but they are not sure that blood levels effect the brain’s level of Serotonin.

The next neurotransmitter that is part of the brain is Dopamine. What is Dopamine? Dopamine is in the area of the brain that is considered to be the neurotransmitter of focus and attention. Dopamine relays impulses across the microscopic spaces, called synapses, which exist between adjacent nerves, thus allowing the propagation of messages from one nerve to the next. (Christensen, 2011) Low levels of Dopamine make concentration and focus very difficult, this is associated with Attention- Deficit- Hyperactivity- Disorder. Carver, 2002) If patients are found to have low levels of Dopamine, you will be prescribed medication that actually slows down the hyperactive by increasing Dopamine boasting the level into normal range allowing them to focus and pay attention. Researchers say that if a patient is found to have prolonged exposure to Dopamine, patients are more apt to abuse drugs. Most addictive drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines, directly or indirectly raise dopamine levels, and the chemical plays a major role in drug-induced highs. WebMD, 2005) The next neurotransmitter that is part of the brain is Norepinphrine. What is Norepinphrine? Norepinephrine is the neurotransmitter often associated with the flight or fight response to stress. Norepinephrine also functions hormones in the body. Low levels of Norepinephrine are associated with a loss of alertness, poor memory, and depression. (Carver, 2002) It has been found that low levels of norepinephrine are in ADHD and depression patients. If the levels are two high patients may feel fatigue, have muscle cramps and a sense of being on edge.
Almost all anxiety disorders involve norepinephrine elevations. (Carver, 2002) Psychiatrists would treat low levels of norepinephrine with newer antidepressants like Effexor and Serzone. Treatment of high levels of norepinephrine the psychologist would prescribe GABA, also known as Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid. Summary and Conclusion As I stated in my debate it is very clear that depression is one of the possible symptoms of chemical imbalance. However, chemical imbalance doesn’t lead to every kind of depression seen in the lives of many people. Admin, 2012) Not all medication has the same dosage. There are many different types of medication that you can have prescribed if your brain is low or has high neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine, and Norepinephrine. If you feel like you are depressed go and see a Psychologist, so the correct medication can be prescribed to you. References Admin (2012). Is depression caused by chemical imbalance in the brain? Retrieved from http://smartsdepression. com/2012/04/27/is-depression-caused-by-chemical-imbalance-in-the-brain. Bouchez, Colette, (2007).
Serotonin: 9 Questions and Answers. Article is a WebMD feature. Retrieved from http://www. webmd. com/depression/features/serotonin. Carver, Joseph MD, (2002). The “Chemical Imbalance” in mental health problems. Retrieved from http://www. drjoecarver. com/clients/49533/file/chemical%20imbalance. html. Christensen, Stephen, (2011). Depression treatment with dopamine. Retrieved from http://www. livestrong. com/article/362623-depression-treatment-with-dopamine/. Ho, Kathryn, (2002). Serotonin ; Depression. Retrieved from http://serendip. brynmawr. du/bb/neuro/neuro99/web3/ho. html Integrative psychiatry, (2012). Serotonin. Retrieved from http://integrativepsychiatry. net/serotonin. html. Mukherjee, Siddhartha, (2012). Post-Prozac Nation. The Science and History of Treating Depression. Retrieved from http://www. nytimes. com/2012/04/22/magazine/the-science-and-history-of-treating-depression. hmtl. WebMD, (2005). Dopamine may play new role in depression. Article is from WebMD news archive. Retrieved from http://www. webmd/depression/news/20050728/dopamine-may-play-new-role-in-depression. .

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