If we can make Melatonin pills to help us sleep, why can’t we make Seratonin pills to make us happy?

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I take Melatonin most nights to sleep better. Sure would love to have a serotonin pill as well.

In: Biology

12 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Unfortunately that would be a highly addictive drug which would cause more harm then good to society 

Anonymous 0 Comments

We kind of can. There are tons of medications and different things that can increase our serotonin: https://www.verywellmind.com/medications-and-serotonin-syndrome-2584342#:~:text=Selective%20Serotonin%20Reuptake%20Inhibitors%20(SSRIs)&text=This%20leads%20to%20an%20increase,Celexa%20(citalopram). However, they can cause more side effects than serotonin.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Congrats, you just invented (essentially) SSRIs. Also known as the primary medical treatment for clinical depression!

Anonymous 0 Comments

Long story short, the human brain isn’t that simple. It can’t be reduced to “serotonin = happiness.” Serotonin has several functions both inside and out of the brain (fun fact, the majority of your serotonin is in your gut), so simply adding serotonin wouldn’t achieve the desired effect.

Also, too much serotonin causes a condition called “serotonin syndrome,” which can be fatal if not properly treated.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Serotonin doesn’t make us happy. It’s a signaling chemical used by our nerves. In people with depression, *often* they find lower levels of serotonin. But that isn’t always true.
Serotonin also seems to have a role in mediating several other body systems – digestion, bone health, wound healing, sexual desire, sleep quality & regularity – not just in our mood. If we overdo the amount of serotonin in our system, that can cause problems including high blood pressure, shivering, confusion, diarrhea, and other troubles.

We try to make it better with SSRIs and other similar antidepressants.

It would be great if our systems worked that simply, but unfortunately we humans can be pretty complicated.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I mean, SSRIs are essentially that, a pill that attempts to increase your brain’s uptake of serotonin. But mood and mental wellbeing is way, way more complicated than falling asleep for the night. We know what the brain uses seratonin for, mostly, but we don’t really understand how that translates to depression or happiness. And there’s a dozen or a hundred other molecules in the brain that also influence that, and there’s a thousand things outside of the brain too. There’s a reason that people will try a bunch of different SSRIs (that seemingly work essentially the same) to try and get results.

Anonymous 0 Comments

That’s kind of what SSRIs do – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The difference is that your body uses serotonin for a *lot* of things, and making you happy on command is kind of a bad idea. That’s what heroin does, by messing with neurotransmitters like dopamine. If you can get happy just by taking pill, you would never be motivated to do anything other than to get more pills. And, drugs like heroin come with a *lot* of negative side effects.

The better thing to do is to allow your body to produce its own serotonin when it already wants to do that. And then just slow down how quickly that serotonin goes away. All neurotransmitters have a process of *reuptake*. They can’t just sit there, forever, because then their effects would never turn off when your body needs them to. So, after a short time, enzymes in your brain clean up the neurotransmitter. They get broken down into smaller bits to be put back together into new neurotransmitters, or they get vacuumed up as they are to get reused.

SSRIs, as the “reuptake inhibitor” part of the name suggests, carefully (selectively) stop the mechanisms that remove serotonin after it’s been used. Instead, the serotonin gets to hang out around your neurons and continue to trigger the receptors that it was already going to trigger. You never add *more* serotonin to your brain, and you never add serotonin when your brain wouldn’t be doing it on its own. You’re just allowing the serotonin to work for longer than it normally does.

There are still side-effects, many of which can be thoroughly unpleasant. Weight gain is common, because among other things, serotonin is also present in your guts and helps regulate hunger and controls movement of your intestinal muscles. SSRIs are not always a solution for everyone, but they can help a lot of people.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Because serotonin can’t pass the blood-brain barrier. It can’t get from the stomach to the brain.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I had serotonin syndrome in October of 2020. I slept 20 hours total the entire month and barely ate, and felt like Superman the whole time while I watched my life crumble around me. It was like I was unable to be sad. Even when I knew a normal person would be sad or upset in a situation.

I would choose depression over mania any day of the week.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’ve been taking SSRIs so long, I’m terrified that if I stopped, my natural serotonin levels will be in the absolute shitter and I’ll kill myself two days after stopping.