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Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
Side Effects of MAOIs
Tyramine Activity
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
Serotonin Syndrome
SSRI Side Effects
Serotonin Syndrome Symptoms
SSRI Weight Gain
Antidepressant and Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
Antidepressant Medications
Antidepressant Weight Gain
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Side Effects of Antidepressants

Monoamines are chemical substances which have only one amino group. The significant constituents of these monoamines are the neurotransmitter group called catecholamines - dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine - and serotonin. Monoamines appear to play a part in stable moods. Changes in the levels of monoamines seem to cause mood swings and disorders.

Monoamines depend on certain type of proteins and act on cells. These proteins are called monoamine transporters. Depression medications affect only these transporters, but not the monoamines. Monoamine neurotransmitters regulate electrical impulses between two neurons. MAOIs retard disintegration of neurotransmitters thereby increasing their levels.

Categories of Monoamines

The six different types of monoamines, called neurotransmitters, are dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, serotonin, histamine, and melatonin. There are trace amines such as tyramine. The group of dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine are called catecholamines.

Dopamine: Dopamine is a neurotransmitter similar to adrenalin. It influences brain activity that regulates mobility, emotions, and the sense of happiness and pain. It is an important monoamine that is essential for balance and regulation of movements. Dopamine deficiency will cause involuntary and unregulated movements as in the case with Parkinson’s disease.

Dopamine controls the stream of messages from various parts of the brain. An increase or decrease in dopamine levels retards a person’s capacity to think logically and rationally. A case in point is the disease schizophrenia. An excess dopamine in other parts of the body and insufficient availability in brain cortex will make a person suspicious in nature and may suffer from paranoia.

Norepinephrine: Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that is also similar to adrenaline. Increased level of this neurotransmitter is associated with aggressive behavior. Norepinephrine, along with dopamine and phenylethalimine, will induce emotions of obsession and possession and love. Children with stressful conditions may develop a long lasting insufficiency in serotonin and excessive norepinephrine levels which may lead to enduring temperamental manners in children.

A person’s nervous system counters a transient stressful state with norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline), which accelerate the heart rate and blood pressure. The adrenalin is pumped to prepare a person to meet stressful situation effectively.

Epinephrine: It is the well-known endogenous hormone adrenalin. During stressful situations, the adrenalin gland secretes epinephrine into the blood stream, along with cortisol, inducing the heart to work harder, escalating the blood pressure, dilating air passage ways in the lungs, and constricting blood vessels in the skin and intestine to allow more blood to muscles to let the body to face threatening situations.

One aspect of epinephrine and the body’s reaction to stress is that it can be induced in reaction to harmful stress as well as beneficial stress also. Beneficial stress will help in maintaining positive outlook and will boost self-confidence. It boosts vitality and vigor.

Serotonin: Brain function consists of communication and information sharing among millions of nerve cells. These brain cells, called neurons, ‘talk’ to each other through molecules. These molecules are called neurotransmitters. Serotonin is one such neurotransmitter. It is associated with a person’s feelings and mood.

Many of the key functions of the brain are associated with serotonin. It controls the evolvement of serotonin neurons and certain other tissues. An obstruction in this evolvement may alter the brain’s working and activities forever. Insufficient supply of serotonin is associated with depression, diet disorders, anxiety, pain reaction, and hostility.

Histamine: Histamine is another neurotransmitter that the body produces when confronted with an allergic reaction. Histamine is a key chemical substance that is associated with all kinds of responses that relate to allergies, pain, saliva synthesis, and other bodily emissions. Histamine can be obliterated by adrenalin. Antihistamines only block body’s histamine receptors to relieve histamine related symptoms, but they do not eliminate histamines.

High histamine levels will be countered by high adrenalin levels. High adrenalin levels may create nervous energy. It may create panic attacks when surges of adrenaline are very high. The body generally maintains a certain amount of adrenalin that keeps changing to balance histamine levels. When body utilizes all adrenalin supply, one feels weary and exhausted.

Melatonin: Pineal gland in the brain produces the neurohormone melatonin from the amino acid tryptophan. The melatonin is light sensitive. It is suppressed by light and is stimulated by the absence of it. This behavior indicates its association in circadian rhythm. It is found that melatonin levels are highest on the eve of bedtime.

Melatonin supplements have been prescribed for diverse medical situations, mostly for sleep disorders. There is some study of melatonin being instrumental in improving the condition of sleep disorder that is associated with Alzheimer's disease. It is assumed that natural melatonin levels are changed in people with Alzheimer's disease.


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