Serotonin 2- how Prozac – and Ecstasy – works.

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A very simple clip which covers neurotransmitter functioning – in this case, serotonin, the neurotransmitter of calmness. As was seen the chemical messenger gets sent out and it docks into its receptor neuron. Another neurotransmitter cannot dock into a serotonin receptor site. If you like, it lacks the right ‘key’. Pharmaceuticals called SSRIs, like Prozac, work by stopping the serotonin from being taken up again by the sending neuron. They do not increase the actual amount of serotonin in the brain, they keep what is there floating about in the synapse for longer. Assuming that low serotonin is the problem, SSRIs do nothing to address the problem of why the serotonin was low in the first place.

The clip is obviously about Ecstasy and how that works on the brain. 1. When ecstasy is taken, ecstasy is presumably experienced.  Now the brain has an adaptation process I have heard referred to as ‘blissed out monkeys’- and these make for easy prey for any passing predator.  And so for us.  If we lie about moaning in pleasure, then we too could become easy prey.2 So to prevent this the brain down regulates the serotonin receptors, which means we have to take more ecstasy to get the same pleasure.

In the next blog I will address the natural supplements that will increase serotonin levels – tryptophan, 5HTP and melatonin.

  1. To simply relate ecstasy type drugs to serotonin is simplistic – it may instead have a major effect on the neurotransmitter of pleasure and rewards – dopamine []
  2. It is but a short step from the hunter gatherers to us – genetically and mentally we have changed very little and we still have the same reactions to stress etc now as we did then, despite our lives being quite unbelievably different.  As a result much of our reactions are based as if we were still living on the savanna with sabre toothed tigers etc strolling  by []

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