The Science of Depression: A handy resource

*Out here addressing the pseudoscientists in these streets. I can’t keep stopping mid conversation to explain myself yo!

When you have a chemical imbalance in your brain, certain buzz words and phrases are not only annoying but relatively insensitive.

“You have to think positively!”

“Look on the bright side of things!”

“Why are you always negative?”

“I don’t like being around you; you’re no fun.”

“You’re too much in your head.”

“You just want attention.”

“You’re difficult.”

I could go on.

It’s not that I don’t want to be happy, cheerful, or even content. I do. It’s just that my neurotransmitters aren’t working okay; dopamine and serotonin. In my case, they are either low or high. Let’s throw in genetics and the environment, and behold, a secret handshake in your brain.

Can things be done to improve and manage this issue? Yes. But that’s not what this blog is about.

Science lesson in session

Let’s look at two hormones/ neurotransmitters mentioned: dopamine and serotonin. Sources are after the article.

Dopamine

Dopamine is integral in the brain’s reward system, which controls motivation, desire, and cravings.

You’re not lazy; you’re just not motivated. You’re not a dark cloud; you literally don’t feel like there’s a point to live. You’re not a hog or trying to starve yourself, fam; your cravings are just out of hand. Oh, and cravings also include taking alcohol or illicit drugs and engaging in behavior that gives you a rush. Snorting cocaine, sex, gambling, shopping too much- list an addiction here.

These addictions come about because one is trying to chase the euphoria, bliss, motivation, and increased concentration that too much dopamine produces.

When your dopamine levels are off-balance, your mood, sleep, learning ability, alertness, movement, blood flow, and yes, even your urine output gets affected.

Serotonin

Serotonin is another neurotransmitter, with most of it found in gut cells since it regulates movement in the digestive system.

Other stuff serotonin does is regulate your sleep-wake cycle, emotions and mood, appetite and metabolism, concentration and cognition, hormonal activity, blood clotting, and body temperature.

~~~~~~~~~~

Commercial break: Award speech

I want to give a shout-out to “my” ulcers, insomnia, erratic moods, lack of appetite, and mental slowness for being a part of my life for this long. We’ve come from far. And let’s not forget you, body temperature, for giving me heat rash in Nairobi weather. Thank you all.

You’ve been loyal!

~~~~~~~~~~

How do the two work together?

Dopamine and serotonin need to create a balance in the body; otherwise, things will go haywire. For example, having low levels of serotonin can cause an overproduction of dopamine for compensation.

In short, if you have too much serotonin, then you have impulsive aggression, aka mania. Too much dopamine? Impulsive reward-seeking behavior and addiction, here we come!

~~~~~~~~~~

Commercial break: Dark humor at its finest

I’ve lost mass- what are curves?- and I’ve been asked about it.

Them: What diet are you on?

Me: It’s called Depression. It’s working great for my weight loss, though I wouldn’t recommend it.

~~~~~~~~~~

So, what am I saying?

If you’re not down with this explanation on depression and have theories on it, that’s fine. I’m more than happy to hook you up with the four psychiatrists I’ve seen in the past three years. Then, you can discuss your science with them. Otherwise, I am tired of having to stop and educate people.

Read, damn it!

I’ve written this to act as a resource and a blog post I can link to.

Otherwise, cheers, and as always, thanks for stopping by.

References

NHS UK: Causes- Bipolar disorder: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/bipolar-disorder/causes/

Medical News Today: Dopamine and serotonin: Brain chemicals explained: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326090

NCBI: Role of Serotonin and Dopamine System Interactions in the Neurobiology of Impulsive Aggression and its Comorbidity with other Clinical Disorders: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2612120/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s