Serotonin is a powerful transmitter known for regulating our mood, sleep, appetite, and digestion. Low serotonin can lead to having a low mood which can lead to mental health conditions that lead to drug use to bring serotonin levels up. It is important that if you notice you are having a low mood that you take medication and natural remedies to increase your serotonin without the use of abusive substances.
The American Psychological Association says that 95% of the serotonin in our bodies regulates the movement of the intestines. 5% of serotonin is made in our brain which moves signals between nerve cells. If we do not have enough serotonin in our bodies, we can develop mental health issues like anxiety, depression, aggression, low self-esteem, low sex drive, poor appetite, and poor memory. If this goes untreated, the conditions go grow more serious like developing an eating disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, etc. Serotonin is the superhero of our mental health that fights away the negative emotions that lead us to anxiety and depression.
You could be using illegal drugs and alcohol as a solace to your low mood thinking this will help liven your spirits up. The truth is that drugs and alcohol will not boost your mood which will make you think that you need to take more and more, spiraling your addiction. There are also physical symptoms as well such as gaining weight, fatigue, carbohydrate cravings, and digestion problems. If your mood is so low, you will not have the energy to do anything or will think yourself too worthless to take care of yourself.
There can be many causes to serotonin deficiency. One cause can be having long periods of stressful situations which can deplete serotonin levels. You could be spending weeks studying for exams which are putting you in a bad mood if you are not sure you will pass. You could be applying for jobs for months and never hear back from companies. Maybe you have to take care of someone who has a serious illness that presents a new challenge every day.
Another reason for poor serotonin can be that you are suffering from digestion issues that impair the breakdown and absorption of food, preventing us from building serotonin. If you have poor protein where you are not making enough proteins, vitamins, or minerals to build up these neurotransmitters, a serotonin imbalance occurs. Toxic substances like drugs, pesticides, and prescription drugs can do permanent damage to our nerve cells that make serotonin. The same can be said to caffeine, nicotine, antidepressants, and cholesterol lowering medications. Not getting enough sunlight can also lead to low serotonin. This is true especially if you live in a cold climate which leads to seasonal affective disorder.
Unfortunately, there are no formal tests to determine if you have a serotonin deficiency. All you can do is track your symptoms for a few weeks and see if you low mood continues to persist. If it does, there are remedies to help bring your mood levels back up again. One way is using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which are antidepressants that help your body use serotonin much better. When SSRIs prevent the body from reabsorbing serotonin, more serotonin circulates throughout the brain which makes more available. SSRIs include Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, and Paxil. Remember that this medication does not produce more serotonin but helps circulate it more throughout the body.
SSRIs are not for everybody but there are still other solutions to help with serotonin levels like natural remedies. One is exercising as it helps you increase the production and release of serotonin. ConsumerSafety.org says that exercising for about 20 minutes could put you in a good mood for 12 hours. Pick an exercise that you would enjoy doing like dancing, swimming, running, or walking. Another remedy is eating more foods that have the nutrients you need to produce serotonin. There are foods such as turkey, eggs, salmon, pineapple, tofu, almonds, avocado, spinach, quinoa, rice, sweet potatoes, and whole grains. These foods are rich in tryptophan, magnesium, and complex carbohydrates that will improve your serotonin levels.
If you live in a cold climate where you do not have enough sunlight or there are too many rainy days, exposure yourself to bright lights. You can do that by getting out in the sun more or going to an area where there is a lot of sun. You can also visit a light box to increase your serotonin levels as well. Most importantly, you need to do more things during the day that makes you happy or think about things that you know will make you happy. This can mean watching cute animal videos, going to comedy shows, watching a funny movie, or anything else that will make you smile. Even if you have not had a great day today, doing that one activity can help make sure day and increase your serotonin.
Being in a good mood can make a great difference to your overall mental health. It is very important that you be in control of your good or bad moods. If your bad mood still persists, ask a therapist the best approach to raise your serotonin. By making sure that your serotonin levels are elevated, you are in control of your happiness and can have a more optimistic outlook of your life.
At Enlightened Solutions, we are here to help you remember that life can be full of happiness and enjoyable moments, once we learn how to manage our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Call us today: (833) 801-LIVE.