Serotonin is a chemical found naturally in your body. It is a necessary chemical, and it helps both your brain and your nervous system function. Too much of the chemical, however, can lead to serotonin syndrome. Find out how to recognize and treat this potentially dangerous condition.
Manage Serotonin Syndrome by Reviewing Medications
If a client struggles with serotonin syndrome, it almost always has to do with some kind of medication. The brain naturally creates some serotonin on a regular basis. However, certain clients may not have enough serotonin, which can lead to unpleasant side effects. To combat this, certain medications can help.
The problem appears when these drugs create too much serotonin in the brain. Certain anti-depressants, for example, are known as SSRIs, or selection serotonin reuptake inhibitors. They essentially help your brain recycle serotonin, but that might cause your brain to flood with too much of the chemical at any one time.
There are several types of medications that can lead to serotonin syndrome. If you take medications for depression, migraines, anxiety, or even certain pain and flu medications, you could be at risk. Fortunately, serotonin syndrome treatment is usually straightforward. It starts by reviewing current medications and making changes as needed.
Symptoms of Too Much Serotonin
When clients have too much serotonin in their system, it can cause all kinds of problems. Some of these symptoms can appear in a matter of hours. The most common include symptoms such as diarrhea, headaches, shivering, and heavy sweating. It is also common to experience a loss of muscle coordination, a rapid heart rate, and mental confusion.
Although rare, too much serotonin can also cause severe and potentially life-threatening symptoms. These can include a high fever, an irregular heartbeat, and even seizures.
Avoiding Illicit Drugs and Alcohol
When you start serotonin syndrome therapy, you’ll learn about the role of substance abuse on serotonin levels. In the short term, certain substances can cause a surge of serotonin in the brain. While that might seem like a good thing, it can lead to more significant problems.
Combined with certain medications, that surge can be severe. Serotonin syndrome treatment won’t be effective if clients are taking illicit drugs or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Part of serotonin syndrome therapy might include drug testing from a serotonin syndrome psychiatrist to ensure compliance with the program.
Severe Cases May Require Further Medical Treatment
For the vast majority of clients, sorting out medication dosage will be the most significant part of serotonin syndrome treatment. However, there are some cases where further care is necessary. Some clients benefit from muscle relaxants because stiff muscles and even seizures are possible as a result of serotonin syndrome.
Other clients may need medical stabilization. If a person’s health is severe, then oxygen or an IV may be necessary. In rare cases, clients also need to take medications that prevent the creation of any new serotonin.
Treat Underlying Issues at PACE Mental Health Houston
The need for serotonin syndrome therapy frequently arises because of medication. Often, that medication stems from a mental or behavioral health issue. If you’re looking for a Community Health Choice psychiatrist in Houston, then PACE Mental Health may be the right choice. At PACE, you can find support for all of the following in addition to serotonin syndrome:
Serotonin syndrome is a potentially dangerous condition, and it often stems from some kind of medication or substance abuse. At PACE Mental Health in Houston, Texas, you can find freedom. Call 866.971.8423 and take back control over your health once and for all.