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serotonin deficiency?

Has 4 years experience.

Recently I read an article about serotonin deficiency and noticed that I've experienced about 90% of the symptoms in every stage of deficiency (including the one in which the "garbage truck" arrives, meaning that loved ones tell you that you're a burden to those around you and bring everybody down). These symptoms have been a part of my life for at least a decade and seem to flare up around PMS week and maybe even a week before.

I've suspected for years that I have a problem with depression, or possibly PMDD, and have tried to ignore it. But my family members have begged me to please go to a doctor and get some help, maybe get on a low-dose antidepressant.

Now, I'm open to seeing a doctor (once I get health insurance), but I'm torn about this. For one thing, I realize that a lot of people in my life may NOT be supportive of my decision. I go to a church that is very much against psychology and I'm afraid of being scolded, judged, or rejected if I choose this route. People might never look at me the same way again, or they might view me as having a weak or unstable personality (especially those with a "pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps" mentality). There's still a stigma attached to mental illness and this could affect me negatively in the future if I'm diagnosed. But if I choose not to deal with this...it could ruin my life anyway.

For now, I'm using a chart to monitor my symptoms in case I do finally see a doctor. As an adult, I need to make my own decision, but how do I deal with other people's reactions or prejudices?

lsyorke, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Wound Care.

Therapy should be the first step in mental wellness.

Why will these other people even know? I mean, I can understand telling a few close and supportive family members, but why would your church family need to know a thing about it? If and when you decide to seek treatment, and if and when you decide to try medical management, the meds will not "change" your personality - you will be you, just a better version.

I'm sorry that there are people around you that aren't supportive, but I do hope you will get the help you need - whether you choose counseling, medication or a combination - you do not need to feel the way you do.

Amanda

Why would anyone need to know about your own personal medical decisions? It isn't any of their business. And I would reconsider being a member of a church with which I disagree. It is cruel to not allow people to get medical help. God works through human beings. Including doctors.

Go to the doctor and get some good medical advice. There is a real disease called depression.

I also recommend "Against Depression" by Peter Kramer, who also wrote "Listening to Prozac".

What you are experiencing is treatable and you will feel like a new person.

Go!

steph

boulergirl -

i agree with the others, why would anyone else need to know you needed to see a doctor? and to start with, for an initial assesment, you can always see a general practioner, and if you need further evaluation, you can be referred to a psychologist if necessary. there are so many things that go along with serotonin deficiency and it can be a multitude of diagnoses. speaking from experience - i have a serotonin deficiency related to fibromyalgia. i couldn't make it through a day if i was not on treatment. good luck with your dilemma

:icon_hug:

boulergirl, CNA

Has 4 years experience.

As far as telling people at church, I don't plan on doing that, but I'm worried that I might accidentally say something. Most of my friends would be understanding, but I do remember being sleep-deprived one time on a trip with them and it made me teary-eyed and frustrated. When I confided in one of them, I just told her that I was "busy and tired" and she replied "We're all busy, we're all tired!" and I immediately felt stupid for being weak. (I forgot in that moment that it's not a sin to be human!)

I feel better now about seeking treatment after reading your replies. All day today I felt like I'm a bad person and couldn't get it together. All day I was clumsy and bumping into things, tripping over things. (Could be the warning signs that PMS is getting ready to come calling.)

nurse4theplanet, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, Pediatrics, Geriatrics.

oh my you remind me of myself from my teenage years until just recently. Depression can be like being in your own personal hell...and nobody truly understands how awful it is unless they have extensive experience with mental health patients or have a personal experience with depression.

Others simply think it is no more than pessimistic thinking, self-pity, and something that you can just snap out of. Please seek professional help. I was in denial too and suffered for 6 years with terrible thoughts of worthlessness, insomnia, irritability, and mood swings. My relationships suffered greatly as did my self esteem. I kept telling myself that it would just go away and that nothing was wrong with me...that I was a 'drama queen' like my family said.

My breaking point is when DH was deployed and my rock was gone. He is the one I cried to when i felt the world was on my shoulders...and he carried this burden with much struggle. I finally saw a doctor and a therapist. I feel like I have been released from a prison. Although I am not completely cured and still prone to small anxiety attacks and occassional blue days...I am much much happier and able to cope with life better. And it has lifted a huge burden off my marriage and my relationships with friends and family.

If your church does not support you, find another church. You are the one that has to fight this illness, not them. It is easier to cast stones, then walk a mile in anothers shoes.

For one thing, I realize that a lot of people in my life may NOT be supportive of my decision. I go to a church that is very much against psychology and I'm afraid of being scolded, judged, or rejected if I choose this route.

What kind of "church" would deny someone medical treatment for a MEDICAL issue? Depression is not a sign of weakness, it is a medical issue just like diabetes!

You know, I wasn't going to post in this thread because of this very issue. I didn't want to sound bad or wrong, but darnitall! What use is a church when they would scold, judge, or reject ANY member for a legit medical problem?

I am going to ask you this... replace "depression" with diabetes and tell me what your church would do. Please, I am asking sincerely.

BTW... you are not talking psychology, you are talking psychiatry. Psychologists cannot prescribe meds. Psychiatrists can. There, there is your answer.

What kind of "church" would deny someone medical treatment for a MEDICAL issue? Depression is not a sign of weakness, it is a medical issue just like diabetes!

What kind of church? A very rare one. Most churches do not operate that way.

You must have read Dr. Kramer's book . . . he uses the diabetes analogy too. :)

steph

lsyorke, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Wound Care.

I have to chime in here. It is totally up to the OP what she decides to do, but the diabetes analogy is killing me here. Diabetes is a absence/decrease of insulin. Glucose levels are maintained in a very specific range to maintain optimum glucose metabolism. The result of the insulin dose is measurable with fingersticks. It can be adjusted and dosage controlled in relation to a specific blood sugar.

This is not the case with ssri's. There is no way to document a serotonin deficiency, there is no test for serotonin.There is no way to "track" serotonin to maintain a "proper" level. Serotonin is a constantly changing neurotransmitter that is NOT at a single level. This "diagnosis" is made on evaluation of symptoms such as irritability, depression, anxiety etc.. which can have a multitude of causes. I'm not saying that serotonin may not be involved, but there is no way to confirm that. To draw an analogy between these two diagnosis's is not doing the OP any favors. They are not comparable.

Yes, some have success with the use of ssri's, others have a nightmare experience.The OP should know that there are no clinical trials longer than 12 weeks related to these drugs, that "discontinuance syndrome" can be extremely difficult and adverse effects can be misconstrued as a worsening mental illness. Therapy should always be the first course of action with any mental health issue.

I'm not trying to scare you, I just want to to be completely aware of the risk benefit ratio with ssri's. These drugs should not be taken lightly.

Dr. Kramer uses the diabetes analogy to point out that depression IS a disease:

Author Peter Kramer wants to give depression a bad name. The author of Listening to Prozac thinks that our culture has suffered from a centuries-long romance with sadness. Refuting claims that depression is a source of soulfulness and creativity, he identifies it as a debilitating disease that plagues millions of Americans. More important, he describes the latest scientific findings about depression and explains their implications for treating this grim malady.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

"Against Depression is an assessment of the science of mood disorder - a field that has taken leaps forward in the past decade. Walking the reader through the full range of new research, Kramer shows how depression endangers nerve cells, disrupts brain functioning, damages the heart and the blood vessels, alters personal perspective and judgment, and interferes with parenting and family life. As the evidence mounts, there is no denying the obvious - that depression now qualifies fully as a disease, one of the most devastating known to humankind. And yet, says Kramer, we do not approach depression as a disease, not in our daily thinking." Depression, linked in our culture to a long tradition of "heroic melancholy," is often understood as ennobling - a source of creativity, integrity, insight, and even sensuality. Tracing these beliefs from Aristotle to the Romantics to Picasso, and to present-day memoirs of mood disorder, Kramer suggests that the pervasiveness of the illness has distorted our impression of what it is to be human. He shows how a head-on look at depression as we now know it will change our sense of self, our tastes in art and in love, and our account of what it is to live a good life.

What kind of church? A very rare one. Most churches do not operate that way.

You must have read Dr. Kramer's book . . . he uses the diabetes analogy too. :)

steph

Nope, don't know who Dr. Kramer is. But he does appear to be on the money. :)

This is not the case with ssri's. There is no way to document a serotonin deficiency, there is no test for serotonin.There is no way to "track" serotonin to maintain a "proper" level.

Nonono!!!! The point is not what can be measured, the point is that we KNOW what the problem is and it isn't a matter of Momma didn't potty train me in the appropriate amount of time!

It IS a matter of a biological problem. That verrrry biological problem can be treated with appropriate medications. THAT is the point, not if we can measure using lab tests and other assorted "stuff" but if we can make the patient feel better.

We don't know about a lot of dx's, we just know the cure or treatment. That is the case in some forms of depression. Depression most certainly IS a biological issue vs. a form of weakness and I defy you to demonstrate otherwise.

Dr. Kramer uses the diabetes analogy to point out that depression IS a disease:

Author Peter Kramer wants to give depression a bad name. The author of Listening to Prozac thinks that our culture has suffered from a centuries-long romance with sadness. Refuting claims that depression is a source of soulfulness and creativity, he identifies it as a debilitating disease that plagues millions of Americans. More important, he describes the latest scientific findings about depression and explains their implications for treating this grim malady.

Wow... I like this Kramer person already! I want this book. I'm quite serious, I believe it is time for a trip to amazon.com!

I do have a question though... what is it about depression? WHY do sooo many folks suffer from this? Is it something that wasn't dx'ed years ago or is it more common today? Lots of questions and likely, no answers.

I have taken Prozac once. After a major fire and issues I don't even care to discuss, I dealt with PTSD. A few weeks of Prozac and I was like a new woman. What did folks do before SSRIs?

lsyorke, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Wound Care.

I'm not saying that depression doesn't exist. I'm saying that ssri's should not be taken lightly. They are not a benign, no adverse effect, no withdrawal group of drugs. They are known to cause psychotic reactions in people, they are known to cause suicidal ideation in those that were never suicidal before. Yes, some people have depression so bad that they need to look for pharmaceutical intervention. Pharmaceutical intervention should NEVER be the first choice in treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy should be tried first.

It may be a biological problem with SOME people. But there are thousands of reasons that people go on ssri's that are NOT biological in nature. Is grieving biological, is being shy biological, is not being able to make a speech in front of a large group a biological problem? NO , these are life circumstances and lifestyles that need evaluating by a professional and coping mechanisms and techniques learned. Every case of depression/anxiety/panic/irritability is NOT biological in nature.

Patients have the right to make a risk benefit determination. By not recognizing that these drugs have risks and adverse effects leaves the patient in the dark when these adverse effects surface during use.

I agree with patients making informed decisions.

But I disagree with your premise that depression is not a disease. I don't think you can compare depression with being shy or unable to speak before an audience.

A fresh look at how we think about depression is on the cutting edge of neurological brain research. Scientists at MIT are looking closely at this and Peter Kramer is working with them.

"Over a decade ago, Peter Kramer changed the way we think about depression in his best-selling book, "Listening to Prozac."

"He says that whenever he spoke publicly about the book there was always someone in the audience who would ask, "What if Van Gogh took Prozac?" -- suggesting that depression helped fuel his creativity and insight. And often, Kramer says that when he talks to his patients about relieving depression they worry that it will change their personality."

"In his new book, "Against Depression," Kramer tries to put those sentiments to rest. Kramer believes society romanticizes depression -- in ways that perpetuate the suffering. Depression is a disease, he says, just like cancer, malaria, or asthma and it should be treated that way."

". . .depression and depressive disorders should be treated as a disease; and that a little depression is no more good for you than a little arthritis or a little rheumatism. The aim in each case should be a complete cure."

************************

Dr. Kramer does cognitive therapy AND drug therapy.

There are definitely side-effects to all drugs and people need to be made aware of them.

But I don't think depression is only in a small number of cases, physiological. I think the majority of cases are physiological.

steph

Pharmaceutical intervention should NEVER be the first choice in treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy should be tried first.

I don't know if I can agree with you here. If you look at objective studies done on this type of therapy and mental illness, you will find that cognitive behavioral therapy in TRUE mental illness is about as likely to be effective as therapy in those suffering from diabetes. You simply cannot lower blood suger through cognitive therapy and you cannot change SSRI receptors through cognitive tx. Therapists including PhDs used to be the norm, now that people are learning about objective studies and actual results from therapy, they are leaving their PhDs for MDs who look at mental illness through psychiatric colored glasses. In other words, it is a biological illness just as ... yes, diabetes. If you find a way to live a happy life with a BS of 800, you will likely find a true clincally depressed patient treated effectively with talk therapy.

It may be a biological problem with SOME people. But there are thousands of reasons that people go on ssri's that are NOT biological in nature. Is grieving biological

Isn't this the true test of a quality psychiatrist? If a doc can't understand the depression is due to the loss of a S/O of 50 years, it isn't the tx that is at fault, it is the doc.

Patients have the right to make a risk benefit determination.

Absolutely! They also have the bloody right to know that talk therapy is less effective than biological means of treating a truely medical disorder.

A fresh look at how we think about depression is on the cutting edge of neurological brain research. Scientists at MIT are looking closely at this and Peter Kramer is working with them.

Very true. Not sure about this Peter Kramer person but I do know about neuro research. I have a friend on another board that does JUST this very research. He is a wealth of information. It is more than fascinating to read what he has to write. He writes about what others dream of. Only his stuff is based on true clinical research.

Verrrry interesting reading.

psalm, RN

Specializes in Staff nurse.

...hugs to you, dear OP. As for your church, and as a born again person myself, remember that Christianity is not a competition!! If you are busy and tired, your "friend" shouldn't compare herself with you!! People look on the outside but God looks on the heart. I am praying for you to get whatever help you need...be it counseling, meds, rest, a physical (thyroid?), different friends, most of all know you are loved.

psalm, RN

Specializes in Staff nurse.

...hugs to you, dear OP. As for your church, and as a born again person myself, remember that Christianity is not a competition!! If you are busy and tired, your "friend" shouldn't compare herself with you!! People look on the outside but God looks on the heart. I am praying for you to get whatever help you need...be it counseling, meds, rest, a physical (thyroid?), different friends, most of all know you are loved.

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