Neurotransmitters and the Symptoms of Depression


When a person is clinically depressed for an extended period of time, biological changes eventually appear in the brain. A sign of such a biochemical imbalance is the development of unwanted thoughts, desires, urges and other dysfunctional patterns. When your brain chemistry shifts, everything can seem different. Tasks that would have been easy to do a short while ago become unbearably difficult. We may become impatient and the smallest thing that demands our attention becomes an annoyance.

There are many different factors that can cause depression. Whatever the primary cause, the response of the brain to any of these is an altering of brain chemistry. Some, though not all depression, seems to be connected in one way or another with specialized brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. There are over 100 different kinds of neurotransmitters. Of these, three seem to have the greatest influence on depression. These are norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters, known as the catecholamines, follow pathways that go deep into various parts of the brain (e.g., hypothalamus) which are responsible for functions that are most commonly affected by depression – i.e., appetite, sexual interest, mood, sleep, and appetite.

Research indicates that when neurotransmiter levels are abnormally low, messages are unable to effectively cross synaptic gaps resulting in a slowing down of communication in the brain. Many factors can contribute to the biochemical disruption in pathways responsible for serotonin and norepinephrine production and distribution including the respective receptor sensitivities and inhibitory mechanisms, and/or in the function of the hypothalamus.



Bio of the Author: Lewis Harrison is an natural foods chef who specializes in vegetarian and vegan recipes. American author,  speaker and Life Coach. An expert on natural foods and whole foods nutrition, stress management and personal development he is the owner of the Catskills Bed and Breakfast in Stamford, New York –

He is the creator of a distance learning course in Holistic nutrition and natural healing at the Natural Healing Academy – His corporate chair massage company has a website at


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