Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Solstice, Apr 29, 2003.

  1. Solstice

    Solstice New Member

    I HAVE recently tapered off of an antidepressant. I had been on some antidepressant for a long time. Still am taking just 10 mg. of elavil at night. I am wondering now if my seratonin level is high enough and if that can somehow be measured?

    Thanks for any information on this.
  2. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    You can have a blood test for serotonin done. I had one done way back when it was first discovered that serotonin was low in FMS people (1989, I think). Normal was 100-400 and mine was 108. Typical! many of our labs seem to come back low normal.
    Let us know what it is if you have it done.
  3. Bacci

    Bacci New Member

    Hi Solstice!
    Ironically I was just reading a book about this yesterday regarding seratonin levels. Several doctors and psychiatrists have done quite a bit of research at Harvard (and numerous other places) to determine this. According to them, it has NEVER been established or proven that chemical imbalances (e.g. seratonin levels) lead to depression. We only know that increasing seratonin often helps depression but there is no indication that it was ever low in the first place. It is a theory put forth by pharmaceutical companies as to why people need to take antidepressants. We know how anti-depressants work, to some degree, by elevating seratonin levels. So we may just be amplifying our normal state. Who knows why some of us feel depressed and others don't. Our bodies are so different as we have seen. Also, apparently the only way to know if seratonin is working at the appropriate level is to check the level of this neurotransmitter at the synapse (where one neuron ends and sends a signal to the next neuron or organ). This is where it is active (not in the bloodstream). In order to measure this, you would essentially have to measure every synapse (hundreds of thousands that can branch hundreds of thousands more times) which is currently impossible. Many people believe that most seratonin is in the brain. In actuality, almost 90-95% is in the gut and GI tract. Apparently it is essentially inactive in the blood stream, so measuring it there doesn't really tell you anything.

    I know that's a lot of info and maybe overwhelming. I have taken anti-depressants on and off for over six years and am currently tapering off after reading this book. I fear the long term side effects and the lack of long term studies done on this issue. It is a great, informative book and I would love to tell you the name and author, but I am not sur if I am allowed to do that on this website. If you would like to know it, let me know and I will email a moderator to see if it's acceptable.

    Good luck on the taper and don't worry about what level your seratonin is at physiologically. Concentrate on the reality of what it feels like to be off anti-depressants and try to find alternatives to keep up your coping mechanisms. I wish you so much luck in your efforts and hope that you are avoiding some of the withdrawal symptoms I have been dealing with! Yuck!

    Take care,