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Mood, Behavior, and Neurotransmitters

Mood, Behavior, and NeurotransmittersThe four major neurotransmitters when it comes to behavior and mood are dopamine, serotonin, GABA, and glutamate. These can play a huge role in how someone feels, thinks, and behaves contributing to different things like ADD, ADHD, autism, OCD, schizophrenia, and many other conditions.

Dopamine affects how rewarded you feel after doing something. If someone has low dopamine they can have low motivation, depression, and anxiety.  People with low dopamine are risk takers (warriors) and people with high dopamine are more careful (worriers).

Serotonin is your ‘sense of well-being’ neurotransmitter. It is typically too low for most people. Not many people have talked about the negatives of too much serotonin. Interestingly, if you have too much serotonin then “road rage” can be a symptom.

GABA is your calming neurotransmitter. It allows you to relax. Sometimes anxiety can come from not having enough GABA being made or being taken in by cells.

Glutamate (not glutamine the amino acid) is your high octane neurotransmitter. It speeds everything up. Most of the time it is painted as a bad guy but you actually need glutamate to create memories. However, too much glutamate can lead to anxiety, inability to sleep, and overactivity.

For all of the above, it’s about balance. It isn’t about taking what is low. It’s about finding the cause and then balancing out the rest. Maybe he is overly excitable because he doesn’t have enough GABA instead of having too much glutamate. Maybe there is a gut problem and the bacteria in the gut aren’t producing a particular neurotransmitter anymore. Maybe there is no stomach acid so protein isn’t being absorbed anymore. Maybe the patient is over inflamed and this is affecting the levels of neurotransmitters. There are dozens more possible causes.

If you want to take care of a neurotransmitter problem, you have to address the cause. Make sure you’re with a practitioner who understands all of the possible causes.