Test for seratonin

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by MildredAnn, Aug 9, 2003.

  1. MildredAnn

    MildredAnn New Member

    Is there a test that can tell how much seratonin one has in their system? My doctor has recommended that I take Effexor XR for depression (helping with adjusting to my son's death) but how do you know if you REALLY need an antidepressant? I do not want to take on if I am just grieving normally and do not need it. Thanks for your input.
  2. aduck

    aduck New Member

    because something has been really really off balance the last few months when I "crashed". My brain feels so much more abnormal, weak, a kind of jittery "insane" feeling, not interested in anything, etc.

    My sincere sympathies and prayers go out to you.


    [This Message was Edited on 08/10/2003]
  3. elaine_p

    elaine_p New Member

    that was my grandma's name! :)

    I don't think there's a test they can do to check seratonin levels. It's a neurotransmitter and don't think it travels through the blood.

    If you don't want to take the med, don't. Maybe grief counseling or a grief support group is an alternative. And/or you could set a reasonable time limit to revisit whether *you* think you need the meds.

    That's not to say that at the end of the time, you'll be recovered or anything! Grief is a process and I don't think parents ever really get over the loss of a child.

    Depression can manifest in many ways. The question psychs often ask is whether you have interest in doing things. Do you think life is worthwhile? Do you have hope for the future? If any answers are "yes", I wouldn't worry about it. But if you're suicidal you should maybe take something (AND seek counseling). If you prefer, there are natural alternatives like St. Johns Wort or SAMe.

    I'm sorry for your loss.
  4. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    Yes, you can easily have your serotonin level checked, both in blood and urine. The urine test is specialized and you will need a holistic doctor to order it, because regular docs don't have a clue. The blood test is called serum serotonin, and is a simple blood draw that any doctor can do. You must make sure you have not been on any serotonin raising drugs for at least 3 weeks prior to the test. The normal range, if I remember correctly is 100-400. Mine was 108. This is a typical finding in a fibro patient, ie. we are technically normal, but way on the low end of normal. I had the urine test done recently, and that showed my serotonin level to be less than 1/3 of the bottom level of normal.
    My doctor does not use drugs, however. I would refer you to the article in the library here by Dr. Cheney on Klonopin, in which he explains some of the dangers of long-term anti-depressant drug therapy. For short term grief, it's fine, but for a long term problem like fibro, the problems outweight the benies. Even if you do escape the side-effects, after awhile ,the drug will not work anymore. Amino acids are the preferred long term treatment, since they treat the cause, instead of just covering up the symptoms like drugs, with the patient working slowly up to about 2,000 mgs. of tyrosine and 200 to 900 mgs. of 5-HTP daily in divided doses. If only your serotonin is low, you would only need the 5-HTP, but if you are depressed, your epinephrine and norepinephrine are almost certainly low too, and you need tyrosine for that. In addition, you need a good multiple vitamin/mineral to make sure your body has the cofactors needed for the tyrosine and 5-HTP to do their work. There are many previous posts on these subjects here, and you can find them by typing in key words at the top of the page where it says "search messages".
    I am so sorry about your son. I cannot imagine anything harder to deal with.
    Klutzo
    [This Message was Edited on 08/10/2003]
  5. kimkane

    kimkane New Member

    i also have lost my son in "99". due to a car accident. i also am on effexor xr. it does help with depression but it also helps get my seratonin level up(not completly)
    i can tell when it is depleting i feel very weird. i also have s'z. they are like i can't take noise light or movement.i can hardly ride in a car it brings on a s'z.
    so very sorry for your loss, you are in my thoughts and prayers, love kim
  6. MildredAnn

    MildredAnn New Member

    My prayers are with you in dealing with the loss of your son. I understand the depth of pain and loss with which you are dealing. Does the Effexor XR really make you feel better, or do you just feel like you are in a fog? What other side effects do you have? Thanks for sharing.
  7. Dara

    Dara New Member

    losing a child is the worse thing that could happen to us as parents. I really feel for you and hope that you are getting the emotional support that you will need.

    As far as testing for seratonin, I have no idea. But, I do take Effexor XR and thought I would let you know how it affects me. I have not seen a decrease in depression or anxiety or anything like that. But, for the first time in my life I can now go to bed and fall asleep, right away. I have always been one to lay awake for hours, sometimes still awake when the alarm would go off. It seems that is the time that I do all my worrying and stressing out about everything and anything. I know they do use Effexor for Obcessive Compulsive Disorder, so I think that is why it has helped me not to worry about things. I have had no adverse side affects from it at all.

    Dara