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A 40-year-old member asked:

What causes unhappiness and hopelessness? just low serotonin? what foods increase serotonin?

2 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Steven Chen
Clinical Psychology 31 years experience
Medical vs psycholog: There are both mind and body causes of unhappiness and hopelessness. Low serotonin, hypothyroidism, and other medical conditions can impact mood. Psychologically things like loss, significant change (positive or negative) or other factors can impact mood in a negative way.
Dr. Steven Reidbord
Psychiatry 37 years experience
While I agree very much with the tone of Dr. Chen's answer, I need to add that there is no scientific evidence that "low serotonin" causes depression in humans. Many (not all) antidepressants increase serotonin's effect in the brain, but no one knows whether the serotonin itself improves mood, vs an indirect "downstream" effect. There's a lot about the brain we don't know yet.
Sep 15, 2013
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 43 years experience
Rich complexity: One of the gifts in being human, is that we're rich, complex beings -- far more than neurotransmitter levels alone. That said, what we eat affects us profoundly and can even modulate what our genes do. You want a balanced diet of proteins, veggies & fruits, and healthy fats (like fish, avocados, olive oil). Please talk with a therapist about your life -- see what changes may help your outlook.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 45 years experience
A true answer, and a beautiful one
Jan 28, 2014

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Last updated Apr 23, 2016

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