logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
Painting
Heart Disease
Horror Literature
Dating
Hiking & Backpacking
SF/Fantasy Books
Healthy Foods


dailyclick
All times in EST

Clairvoyance: 08:00 PM

Full Schedule
g
g Nursing Site

BellaOnline's Nursing Editor

g

Serotonin

Guest Author - Julie Reeser, RN

It is almost impossible to throw a stone without hitting someone on a drug that affects serotonin levels in the body. With so many of our patients and clients relying on these prescriptions and supplements to assist them in their daily lives, it is important for the nurse to fully understand this neurotransmitter.

Serotonin is similar to the spice salt. It does not excite neurons itself, but rather “modulates the responses of other neurotransmitters” (1) by making their effects stronger or lighter. Too much salt, and the flavor is nauseating and makes us sick. Too little salt, and the flavor, or spice of life, is absent. Serotonin is produced by the pineal gland from dietary intake of the amino acid, tryptophan. This in turn, becomes 5-HTP, which is then made into serotonin by enzymatic action. Both of these can be purchased as a supplement, but tryptophan supplementation has a rocky history and is harder to obtain. Anyone taking either of these supplements should not be on an SSRI, as it could cause Serotonin Syndrome, a dangerous “overdose” of serotonin characterized by overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. This results in diarrhea, agitation, elevated blood pressure, fever, and loss of coordination.

Serotonin is released by the synaptic vesicle from the axon where it binds briefly to special receptors. From there, a pump reabsorbs the serotonin for storage or to be metabolized. This is where pharmaceuticals come into play. SSRIs are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning that the pump action is delayed, allowing the serotonin to linger longer in the synapse. This has been found to improve mood, decrease aggression and irritability, and assist with sleep and appetite. The metabolism of serotonin is initiated by the enzyme MAO. This is why MAO inhibitors have the result of positively affecting serotonin levels. Illegal drugs also involve serotonin. LSD and Mescaline mimic serotonin in the brain, pushing those receptor buttons longer and harder, causing a feeling of euphoria. Ecstasy is aptly named, as it is causes the release of stored serotonin.

The body has the most serotonin present in the cells of the intestines. It normally does not reach the brain because of the blood-brain barrier, but occasionally if we are sick, those gut cells release enough serotonin that it reaches our bloodstream causing nausea. Another way that the body attempts to regulate serotonin is by causing us to crave carbohydrates that are high in tryptophan. Stress depletes serotonin, so the more we run our bodies on high alert, the less serotonin we have to calm ourselves and respond appropriately. People with low levels of serotonin have lower libido, which can lead to dysfunction in relationships, leading to unhappiness and perpetuation of stress. Many of our patients feed this stress, literally, by eating to make themselves feel better. Laughter releases serotonin, so teach your patients and clients the ways to naturally get that “high“, encourage therapy to talk about issues that cause them chronic stress, refer them to local meditation classes, and explain how exercise releases serotonin. Understanding serotonin can lead to behavioral improvements, possibly reducing the need for pharmaceutical intervention and reducing the risk of polypharmacy.

References:
(1) Nelson, Randy J. “Biology of Aggression”. Oxford Unity Press, Inc. 2005.




This site needs an editor - click to learn more!

Add Serotonin to Twitter Add Serotonin to Facebook Add Serotonin to MySpace Add Serotonin to Del.icio.us Digg Serotonin Add Serotonin to Yahoo My Web Add Serotonin to Google Bookmarks Add Serotonin to Stumbleupon Add Serotonin to Reddit




RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Nursing Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2013 by Julie Reeser, RN. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Julie Reeser, RN. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

g


g features
Medication Errors

Caring For Yourself

Returning to College - Advancing Nurse Education

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2013 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor