Friday, July 19, 2019

Serotonin & Depression :: Biology Essays Research Papers

Serotonin & Depression In the brainstem, the most primitive part of the brain, lie clusters of serotonin neurons. The nerve fiber terminals of the serotonergic neurons extend all throughout the central nervous system from the cerebral cortex to the spinal cord. This neurotransmitter is responsible for controlling fundamental physiological aspects of the body. In the central nervous system (CNS), serotonin has widespread and often profound implications, including a role in sleep, appetite, memory, learning, temperature regulation, mood, sexual behavior, cardiovascular function, muscle contraction, and endocrine regulation. Not only does this bioamine control physiological aspects of the body, but it also has an involvement in behaviors like eating, sleeping and aggression. Serotonin has been noted to produce an inhibitory effect on the nervous system that calms, soothes and generates feelings of general contentment and satiation. Not surprisingly, serotonin is implicated in a broad range of serotonin disorders like depression, schizophrenia, and Parkinson's disease (3).. Serotonin deficiencies have been one of the factors to blame for ailments such as anorexia, bulimia, obsessive compulsive disorders, migraines, social phobias and schizophrenia. (9). (12). I am not taking a stance that serotonin has its hand in all of these different pots, but after the research that I have completed for this paper, I feel comfortable talking about serotonin in reference to depression. No one can say for certain what exactly "causes" depression. But in this paper, I hope to give further insight into serotonin's specific role as a possible predeterminant for major depression and some hopes for those suffering from this illness. Approximately 5% of the United States' population experiences a depressive episode that requires psychopharmacological treatment; in any one year, 10-12 million Americans are affected by depression, with the condition twice as common in females than in males. It has been estimated that 15% of patients hospitalized for depression will commit suicide. These figures are incredible, so finding the root of the problem when it comes to depression is extremely important. "Alterations in serotonin metabolism may be an important factor in the etiology and treatment of depression." (7). Although historically depression has been considered a character condition, evidence has accumulated suggesting the role of a biological substrate, namely serotonin, in subgroups of depressed patients. This accumulated evidence supports the indoleamine hypothesis of depression, which suggests that major depression results from a deficiency of available serotonin or inefficient serotonin. (16). We see that depletions of serotonin from certain regions of the brain such as the hypothalamus, amygdala, and cortical areas involved in cognition and other high processes, can have a great impact in contributing to depression.

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