SEROTONIN AND NERVE ENDING
I am always constantly amazed at the ignorance of the general public concerning their own bodies.
The Governments of the world teach their citizens how to salute their flags and how to sing their National Anthems and how to love their National Heroes, but they teach them nothing about their anatomy nor their physiology–the two areas that will allow their citizens to remain healthy and live longer and stronger.
Human anatomy and human physiology would be taught from infancy in an ideal country. But, since there is no political gain from these subjects they are ignored in even the most advanced and the most concerned countries in the world; such as: Norway, Switzerland and Denmark.
Nationalism always takes precedence over science throughout the world.
Fortunately, I was an extremely lucky young boy. My father who had fought for five years for Italy in the First World War always said to me:
“Countries always give you their flag. But what can you do with a flag? You can’t sleep in it and you can’t eat it. Why don’t they give you an education?”
And, yet, to this very day, no country “gives you an education.”
In my Clinic and, also, in the Emergency Room, I found that “Depression” was a pervasive illness amongst my American patients.
Depression is so prevalent in American society that the pharmaceutical industry make hundreds of billions of dollars making and
selling drugs that relieve depression.
Depression is also prevalent in other countries of the world.
Wherever society is malfunctioning, wherever governments do not allow their public to lead a natural life, we see a syndrome of sadness, sleeplessness and lack of appetite.
In many cases, we see that “anorexia” or lack of appetite, is overcome by “binge eating” and “binge drinking of alcohol” and the use of “Narcotics” either illegally, or in prescription form, known as “Pain Killers.”
This is the state of the entire world in the first decade of the 21st. Century.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF DEPRESSION?
All depression, whether in individuals or groups, has only one cause: FRUSTRATION.
Whenever an individual cannot achieve a goal, he or she becomes “frustrated.”
Frustration, at first, manifests itself as anger.
The frustrated individual becomes angry and then makes repeated efforts through either the same method or differing methods, to achieve the original goal.
In animals we can commonly witness this activity in the search for food or for a mate.
Individual survival requires food, and the survival of the species requires reproduction, These two areas of frustration are the two
most common areas of frustration amongst humans. And, also, amongst groups of humans.
Humans are social animals and their survival is very dependent on the successful functioning of their group.
If their group is not functioning successfully in the area of economics, that area where food and needed personal and family goods are found, the individual becomes frustrated, then angry and finally depressed.
Today, in the midst of The Great Depression of 2008, doctors are faced with a surge of depressed patients.
HOW DOES A DEPRESSED PATIENT PRESENT?
“Present” is a verb used by medical teams to describe the manner in which a patient looks and behaves when first seen by the medical team.
The verb term “Present” also describes any findings that are relevant, such as the blood pressure, pulse, respirations and temperature (Vital Signs) and all complaints that the patient makes about what he or she is experiencing.
For example, one doctor would tell another doctor: “Patient X presented with a low blood pressure, pale, sweaty and complaining about difficulty in breathing.”
This is a typical description of a patient with a serious “Presentation.”
A patient with a complaint of depression would “present” with almost normal vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, temperature) but possibly fast respirations, secondary to anxiety.
Most patients with depression do not say they are depressed. They generally say they have been trouble sleeping.
“I don’t know Doc, I haven’t been able to sleep well lately…”
Have you been losing or gaining weight.
Eating is a fundamental activity. In the past, depression always caused anorexia. Today, it may cause a desire to eat more than normal.
After listening to the responses, always interjected with “I don’t know…” I would conclude with the diagnosis:
“You’re depressed, aren’t you?”
At that point, if it was a female, she would generally start crying and generally say “Yes, but I don’t know why?”
If it was a male, he would stare at me and same something like: “I think you’re right Doc. But, I can handle it.”
At that point, I would reassure the patient that all would be well, but we might have to use some medications and make some life style
All patients love the use of meds to solve a problem. It takes the burden off their back from making life style changes.
All of us are ingrained with life styles, whether it is drinking five cups of coffee in the AM, (me) or six beers in the PM, most American males.
We have stereotypic relationships with our spouses, our children, our neighbors and our bosses or the police.
We expect to spend so much for food and entertainment and for our necessities.
When these areas are broached, we become angry and then depressed.
In the recent past, unemployment has been the new cause of depression.
It is extremely difficult to tell an unemployed father or mother who cannot feed, clothe or entertain her kids as he or she did in the past, that all will be well–especially, when I believe that all will be worse.
Since I see a large number of patients, I had to develop a style of answer that was honest but that supported the patient’s weak ego.
“Look,” I would say, “at least you, your spouse and the kids are healthy. So what if the money is down. You’re strong you’ll get by. And, God willing, things will change.”
For me and my patients, religion is important. We all believe in the omnipotence of God and we all feel that if God is favorable all will ultimately will be well.
But, like a tired man at the end of a hard day, a beer changes one’s outlook.
“Would you like to try some pills?” I ask.
“Will they help?” is the usual response.
“No guarantee! But they’ve helped others.”
“Let’s give them a try.”
The translation for SSRI is SELECTIVE SEROTONIN RE-UPTAKE INHIBITORS.
SSRI’s are the most common anti-depressant medication on the planet.
They have a host of trade names:
Here is the list from Wikipedia (you may be taking one):
Drugs in this class include (trade names in parentheses):
- citalopram (Celexa, Cipramil, Cipram, Dalsan, Recital, Emocal, Sepram, Seropram, Citox, Cital)
- dapoxetine (Priligy)
- escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex, Seroplex, Esertia)
- fluoxetine (Prozac, Fontex, Seromex, Seronil, Sarafem, Ladose, Motivest,Flutop, Fluctin (EUR), Fluox (NZ), Depress (UZB), Lovan (AUS))
- fluvoxamine (Luvox, Fevarin, Faverin, Dumyrox, Favoxil, Movox)
- indalpine (Upstene) (discontinued)
- paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat, Sereupin, Aropax, Deroxat, Divarius, Rexetin, Xetanor, Paroxat, Loxamine, Deparoc)
- sertraline (Zoloft, Lustral, Serlain, Asentra)
- vilazodone (Viibryd)
- zimelidine (Zelmid, Normud
All these drugs do the same thing. They increase the level of Serotonin in the brain, by blocking the enzyme that destroys it or shunts it to another area.
The net result is that the patient has more serotonin in the brain, his nerves make better connections, and, lo and behold, he feels remarkably better than he felt before.
The effect is the opposite of alcohol, where alcohol depresses nerve conduction, serotonin increases nerve conduction.
DO SSRI’s WORK?
For the average depressed person they have a positive effect.
However, for the severely depressed they may be insufficient.
In recalcitrant cases we must use stronger medicine or shock the brain. These cases are left to psychiatrists who treat them routinely.
NEEDLESS TO SAY THERE ARE A “ZILLION” DIFFERENT SIDE EFFECTS, AND ONLY A LICENSED EXPERIENCED PHYSICIAN SHOULD PRESCRIBE THESE DRUGS.
IS SEROTONIN AVAILABLE AS A SUPPLEMENT?
There are hundreds of herbs that increase serotonin. The most popular are:
Cannabis —favored by young people.
Amphetamines–favored by young people.
St. John’s Wort–favored by older people and people who avoid “recreational” drugs.
5-HTP (5 HYDROXY-TRYPTOPHAN) a precursor to Serotonin. Sold as a supplement over the counter.
There are many ways to get Serotonin in your bloodstream and have it cross the blood-brain barrier and make you feel happier.
But, the best way is to understand your position in life, understand your potentials, understand the nature of your social environment, and understand God as the source of nature.