What is serotonin?
Serotonin is a chemical that is responsible for sending messages from one cell to another. Although it is well known for its positive effects on feelings of well-being, it also serves other functions. Peripherally, it is used to regulate gastrointestinal movements in the GI tract. In the central nervous system, it is involved in regulation of processes such as sleep, appetite and mood. It is also involved in cognitive functions related to memory and learning. Because of its effect on mood, serotonin is the target of several antidepressant medications. These medications can increase availability of serotonin in the brain, but can lead to side effects of varying severity. IN addition to medication, there are other ways to increase serotonin that may supplement the effects of medication or remove the need for it altogether.
What is high functioning depression?
High functioning depression belongs to a group of disorders referred to as “depression” or “depressive disorders”. The term is used to describe people who experience consistent symptoms of depression for a long period of time (over 2 years), but continue to complete the activities necessary to lead functional lives. They work and often have thriving careers. They take care of their families, their homes and their appearance while they are struggling with feelings of negativity, sadness, and despair. The symptoms are examined in more detail below.
Do you feel sad and you don’t know why?
Depression is a condition in the brain. It is an illness, no different from any other physical illness. While there are lifestyle choices that help cope and/or prevent depression, and also triggers that lead to depression, sometimes depression just happens because it is how the brain is wired. That is why it is possible to feel sad, to feel depressed, and not know why.