Serotonin and Depression

 Come quickly, Lord, and answer me, for my depression deepens; don’t turn away from me or I shall die.  Let me see your kindness to me in the morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for my prayer is sincere.               Psalm 143: 7-8

I just read an interesting article from my friend and colleague Joe Wegmann, the Pharmatherapist. Joe wrote about the theory of chemical imbalance in depression, specifically the concept of Serotonin depletion as a cause of depression.

Joe indicates that it is too simplistic, and very inaccurate to blame Serotonin depletion alone for depression. Depression is a multi-factor illness, with roots in the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual parts of our being. Serotonin depletion can be found in depressed individuals, but is it a cause or effect, or even a by-product of depression? Yes, it is real, but to blame depression on merely low Serotonin levels is not doing a justice to the complexity of the illness.

That being said, anti-depressants which help to raise or maintain Serotonin levels are still beneficial for many patients. If you are taking an SSRI, don’t stop without serious conversations with your therapist and your physician. Yet, realize that depression is multi-faceted, and that the remedy too must include all parts on one’s life. Strong social and familial connections are still the best tools one has in dealing with depression.

If you are a reader of this blog for any length of time, you will also note that I strongly suggest regular and even vigorous exercise, and close attention to one’s spiritual life as tools to effectively combat depression.

So, recognize that you do have tools to deal with depression, and that others around you want to help.

Please reach out to them.

Prayer: Lord, you have given us many people around us to lean on in hard times. When we are depressed, remind us again, Amen.

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