We hear about some of the chemicals in our brains but what are they and how do they change our mood? How can a ‘chemical imbalance’ cause anxiety and depression? What is the relationship between these? These are just some of the questions I personally have. The problem with mental health is nobody has the answers but in researching and learning more about anxiety and depression we become better equipped with learning to cope with an episode of depression. Our brain communicates with itself by transmitting chemicals from one neuron, or nerve, to the other.
Serotonin is a natural mood stabiliser. When we have lots of this chemical in our brains – we feel ‘happier’ – a lack of serotonin has been said to cause depression. It is also linked to anxiety and insomnia. What exactly causes low levels of serotonin in our brains? Nobody really knows. If you are reading this you will have probably heard of serotonin and the role it plays in depression and sleep. It is believed that levels of serotonin can be increased through exercise, a balanced diet and introducing more bright natural lighting, more sunlight and Vitamin D.
Dopamine is the ‘reward’ chemical – often associated with something you love or enjoy doing. It controls many functions. It communicates with the font part of our brain which is linked to pleasure and a sense of reward.
Endorphins are both hormones and neurotransmitters and they can pack a punch. Endorphins are often spoken about when we exercise and they release this ‘feel-good’ chemical.
The release of oxytocin is known to create a warm and fuzzy feeling. It is most known as the ‘love’ chemical in our brains. This is increased when hugging or cuddling someone you love or a pet.
Cortisol, the primary stress hormone causing anxiety and distress in us. Anxiety and depression may also be linked to high cortisol levels.
Its role in our body is stress response – it works in line with the hormones adrenaline to create a ‘fight or flight’ response. Norepinephrine plays a big role in a person’s mood and ability to concentrate. If you have low levels, this could potentially lead to ADHD, depression as well as low blood pressure.
If you have any questions or would like to add anything please let me know.
Love to you all,