Neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus (brain stem) produce serotonin. They have long projections that carry the neurotransmitter to the orbital prefrontal cortex. In suicide victims, the dorsal raphe nucleus sends less than normal amounts of serotonin to the orbital prefrontal cortex. Why? The Neuroscience of Suicide.” (Carol Ezzell. Scientific American, February 2003. Scientific American Inc, NY. ISSN # 0036-8733, pp 45-51)

Suicide may be a unique entity, reflecting the culmination of several complex processes (i.e., not simply depression, but also impulsivity, disinhibition, anxiety, executive functioning) including disregulation of serotonin. (van Heeringen, C. ‘Suicide, serotonin, and the brain.’ Crisis 22: 66-70)

Oniomania is the medical term for shopaholism. It is an addictive, obsessive disorder. Compulsive shoppers have been shown to be deficient in serotonin. (Lombard, Jay, Dr., and Dr. Christian Renna. Balance Your Brain, Balance Your life.)

Exercise increases levels of l-tryptophan which, in turn, increases serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin levels can also be released by eating foods rich in tryptopyhan (e.g., green peas, potatoes, mild, peanut butter, eggs, salmon, turkey, chicken). (Amen, Daniel G., MD. Change Your Brain Change Your Life. p 184-185. NY:Times Books, 1998.)

LSD can fit into (bind with) serotonin receptions and completely disrupt the serotonin system. (Ornstein, Robert. Multimind. p 141. NY:Doubledday, 1986.)

Five brain chemicals act together to call the brain to attention and produce a sharp attentive state (dopamine, histamine, norepinephrine, acetylecholine, and serotonin). Any imbalance in production or distribution of any of these will zap the brain’s ability to act alertly. Stimulants such as amphetamines and cocaine act on all of these except acetylcholine. (Guiffre, Kenneth, MD, with Theresa Foy DiGeronimo. The Care and Feeding of Your Brain. p 30-39. NJ:Career Press, 1999.)

Psychadelics (e.g., LDS, MDMA or Ecstasy, PCP, Special K) initially enhance dopamine and serotonin release. With chronic or high-dose usage however, the brain “spaces out” due to depleted levels of serotonin and a toxic effect on dopamine neurons. (Guiffre, Kenneth, MD, with Theresa Foy DiGeronimo. The Care and Feeding of Your Brain. p 33-39. NJ:Career Press, 1999.)

Studies: Ecstasy stimulates the release of serotonin in the brain, producing a euphoric high and weak LSD-like effects that can last several hours. Habit-forming and subject to compulsive abuse, it can increase blood pressure to dangerous levels. Long-term use can cause sharp increases in body temperature, leading to kidney and liver failure. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. p 86. Washington D.C.: The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001.)

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