Serotonin vs. Dopamine

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hopefulmigrainer
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   Posted 12/9/2006 7:32 PM (GMT -7)   
I have done search after search about this and I can't find the answers I'm looking for.  I'm just wondering how is it determined which chemical your brain needs for depression/anxiety?  What if you are taking the dopamine/neopenephrine meds and not the serotonin med but your brain needs the serotonin? Does anybody understand how they determine which med to give you?  Has anybody ever questioned their doctor about this before?
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen."
 
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Twiggygal
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   Posted 12/9/2006 9:00 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't even know if doctors are capable of figuring that out... perhaps they give you every med til something works...

I also have heard of PET scans... which record the amount of the fluids you mentioned within the brain.. and whether they are low or not.. I don't know if a PET scan is beneficial or not...

but I wonder too... why did my doctor just toss a SSRI at me? What if that's not what I need? What if I need dopamine/neopenephrine? You know?

I guess the mental health professionals and science have not gotten quite that far yet... *sigh*

Twiggygal~
"Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars."

DX: Panic Disorder, Depression, TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder), Chronic Migraines
 
RX: Ativan/Lorazapam (1 MG a day), Lexapro (15 MG a day), Tylonel for the TMJ and Migraines
 



debaser
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Date Joined Nov 2006
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   Posted 12/9/2006 10:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Medicine is more a science than it is an art, but it's not all the way there yet. If you read the research on drugs like ibuprofen and some others that have been around forever, it'll say right there in the literature that they have no idea how or why they work. We were probably born just a little too soon. In a hundred years or so they'll probably know a lot more about what they're doing.

Twiggygal
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Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 924
   Posted 12/10/2006 3:43 AM (GMT -7)   
That's not exactly comforting about the ibuprofen debaser.. LOL


Twiggygal~
"Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars."

DX: Panic Disorder, Depression, TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder), Chronic Migraines
 
RX: Ativan/Lorazapam (1 MG a day), Lexapro (15 MG a day), Tylonel for the TMJ and Migraines
 



hopeful82
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Date Joined Jul 2005
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   Posted 12/10/2006 9:36 AM (GMT -7)   
I've never heard of any antidepressants that actually target dopamine - I believe they only target serotonin, norepinephrine, or both. The only reason dopamine is involved is because of the biochemistry that goes on in your brain... its believed that serotonin actually "hijacks" dopamine transporters, and the more serotonin you have in your brain's pathways, the more this takes place. Serotonin has always been looked at at kind of the "moderator" of all other neurotransmitters, and its interaction with dopamine in people who take SSRI's is just an example of that. Its a slow process though, which is theorized to explain why it takes weeks for any anti-anxiety effects to be seen.
So basically, if you are taking a med for your anxiety, you ARE getting a med that will alter the levels of serotonin. All SSRI's, MAOI's and TCA's (the most common forms of antidepressants) do this.
Hope I helped! I was a biopsychology major in college :)
Ali
 
Co-mod for HIV/AIDS 
 
"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
 
 
 


debaser
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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 12/10/2006 9:58 AM (GMT -7)   
haha, T, I guess not. But it's been thoroughly researched for safety. I think they know what it does, but just can't figure out how it works on a molecular level or something.

hopefulmigrainer
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Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 902
   Posted 12/10/2006 1:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, everyone. I'm still not sure I understand. My research shows that the SSRI's are the serotonin reuptake inhibitors and the Wellbutrin, Effexor type meds are the dopamine/neopeneprine type meds. I was taken off of Lexapro because of "serotonin syndrome" I take Immitrex for migraine which is a serotonin antagonist. My understanding is that if the body gets too much serotonin it can shut down and be fatal. I don't want to scare anybody here. This is a triptan & SSRI thing. I'm just worried that Wellbutrin alone is not going to get me out of my depression - I slipped into depression again once I went off of the Lexapro. That's why I'm wondering if my brain needs the serotonin. I think that the docs prescribe trial and error. That's why they call it "the ART of medicine."
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen."
 
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conundrum
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 29
   Posted 12/11/2006 6:42 AM (GMT -7)   
i believe adderall increases dopamine in the brain

hopeful82
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Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 2433
   Posted 12/11/2006 2:04 PM (GMT -7)   
You are right - I forgot about good ol bupoprion (Wellbutrin, or Zyban). This drug is also a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, in addition to the serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibition. Effexor is mostly a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, and a weak inhibitor of dopamine reuptake. Anyways, the brain absoultely needs serotonin - besides its supposed role in regulating of all the other neurotransmitters, it also affects vital bodily functions like hunger, sleep, thermoregulation, etc.....

Did your doctor ever talk to you about your diet? Sometimes altering your diet to limit food containing serotonin precursors can make a difference (i.e. turkey - it contains tons of tryptophan!!). I might also ask your doctor about the dosage amounts of the two drugs... I feel like you could probably have an effective dose of both without overloading your synapses with serotonin. But you are getting serotonin reuptake inhibition with the Wellbutrin as well, so don't count it out as being able to help :)
Ali
 
Co-mod for HIV/AIDS 
 
"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
 
 
 

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