SSRI & amino acid manifesto
Thanks lady :D
So here's the short of it (probably not very short, we'll see how this comes out). The idea behind SSRI's is that they block the receptors for serotonin. This is supposed to force the body to produce more. Now, we know that SSRI's are tricky beasts and don't work well for everyone, not to mention the host of side effects. They're not a great example, but the idea is to [I]boost[/I] serotonin levels. I think it makes sense that one thinks depression as a lack of happiness, thus it must be [I]low[/I] serotonin as opposed to high (too little, not too much). Doesn't mean it's true, but that's how I imagine scientists would have first thought of it and started their efforts in treating depression w/ chemicals & drugs.
Following that, if I think my issue is with absorption, giving my body more serotonin and dopamine while I am unable to absorb what I produce/ingest for production, it makes sense that these amino acid supplements work for me. What doesn't make sense to me is how they could possibly work if I had high serotonin levels. Having excessive serotonin levels supposedly results in depression/anxiety, but introducing [I]more[/I] serotonin? Wouldn't that make me overload or something, not make me feel better?
I think the idea of high serotonin being the more common cause for depression/anxiety is interesting, but I don't see how it could hold true for me (I will do some reading about it, though). One thing is for sure, I don't know how I would ever be able to test this. It would take time, possibly months, of just eating well and not taking these supplements. In the midst of that, I would very likely be struggling with my mood, and that is not something I could handle.
I first tried 5-HTP and L-Tyrosine in the fall of 2011. I was just coming off of Lexapro. I'd been on and off SSRI's quite a bit in the 7 years prior to that. Lexapro was relatively new for me, and as usual, I didn't feel like it was helping adequately. I read "The Mood Cure" and thought I'd try it out. Better sleep was the first thing I noticed. Over a few weeks, I definitely saw an improvement in mood, though I still went through the awful withdrawal period from Lexapro (plummeting depression for a few days 2-3 weeks after not taking it). I stayed on the amino acids for at least a few months, then stopped taking them at some point because I didn't feel like I noticed a difference anymore. Overall, I felt good. Spring of 2012 was rough for me and Hulky. He was depressed. I went back to therapy. I don't remember if I started taking the amino acids again at that point. At the end of the summer, I know I went back on amino acids because the constipation started and within a month, my moods were awful. I've been on them since then, have made some reductions in 5-HTP and changes with L-Tyrosine. They continue to work well for me.
When I first tried them, I think my gut was in better shape. If it wasn't for the emotional stress and whatever happened to my gut, I might not have needed to go back on them. I try not to play with what ifs. In the end, I am learning more about my body's needs now than I think I would have before, and that can only be to my benefit.
Okay, that wasn't short at all. I'm titling this entry so I can search for it and maybe refer other people to my thoughts. This was a good thought exercise, at least :)