1/06/2006

Smile, Be Happy

Smile, be happy are words that people who suffer from depression loathe to hear. It's not like people who suffer from depression choose to be unhappy. It's just the way their brains are wired. Past research has shown that the levels of serotonin in people who suffer from depression are low compared to others who do not suffer from it. New medications such as Zoloft, Paxil, and many were developed based on this research.

But scientists still did not understand what processes are involved in depression. They are getting closer. New research has come to light that a protein called p11 seems to play a major role.

Most depression medications used today are members of the Prozac family that work by making more serotonin available to brain cells. They stem from a theory that depression patients might not have enough serotonin, a neurotransmitter, or chemical that carries signals between nerve cells.

Then scientists discovered the serotonin connection was more complicated, dependent on how well the neurotransmitter binds to receptors, or docking ports, on cell surfaces. Fourteen different serotonin receptors have been discovered.

The new research focuses on one of those receptors, dubbed the "1B" receptor, that seems to play a particularly big role in major depression.

Greengard and colleagues discovered that the p11 protein increases the numbers of these receptors on the surfaces of cells, mobilizing them so they're available for serotonin to do its job.Yahoo News

People, like me, who suffer from depression have benefited greatly from the new drugs that are available. It's exciting that research is continuing and the complex issues of brain chemistry are being unraveled. This research offers hope and should lift some of the stigma associated with the dis-ease of depression. New and better treatments are sure to follow. Then perhaps to people with depression, the words, "Smile, be happy" will elicit a smile instead of the urge to punch someone.

4 Comments:

Blogger Esther said...

I love great drugs. I gotta tell ya, I tried anti-depression drugs but the best are anti-anxiety.... I'm so much happier now that I've switched back to Trazodone. It was wild realizing there was a very big difference and finding out which one was right...as well as the amount. Wish I had figured this out years ago. I have a feeling I was always anxiety-ridden. Not full blown anxiety attacks (I had a college roommate who did) that would have clued people in a lot earlier... but still. Debilitating enough. As you can see, I'm not bothered by any stigma. Course, I'm hardly ever shy about sharing my opinion on something. ;)

I'm so glad you're finding stuff that works for you!

10:23 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

esther,

Went back on them not to long ago. Should start kicking in soon. I was fortunate that one tried and the dosage were correct. Soon, I'll stop feeling like I need to punch everyone who tells me to smile, be happy.:)

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Bozwell said...

I didn't know that you suffered from depression Seawitch. It is a much misunderstood condition and so often goes untreated.

The future as you say is good with an increase of awareness and medical focus on it.

I'm sure that recent events that you have lived through have made things all the more challenging on this front.

My thoughts are with you.

6:50 AM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

boz,

Thanks. I went two years without needing any treatment. A month before the hurricane hit, I started sliding into another depression. It still doesn't make sense to me why when I was most content with my world, it had to hit again.

7:00 AM  

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