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Depressed people are known to have fewer of the ‘feel-good’ receptors for serotonin.

Jon-Kar Zubieta, MD, PhD, University of Michigan, reports that depression is rooted in genetic and molecular factors and are unique for each individual. Using PET (positron emission tomography) scans, Zubieta studied patients who met the criteria for major depression, but had not yet received treatment for it. Those scans were compared with scans of non-depressed volunteers.

Serotonin levels were linked to depression as were the ‘feel-good’ (5HT1a) receptor concentrations. The worse the subject scored on the depression assessment the fewer ‘feel-good’ receptors they had. He also found that there was a direct relationship between the effectiveness of medication used to treat depression and the number of ‘feel-good’ receptors. The fewer the ‘feel-good’ receptors the less likely medication was going to relieve signs of depression.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Jan October 15, 2008, 7:54 am

    I know a ton of people who have been let down by depression medication. You go to the doctor thinking he’ll just give you a drug to make it go away. Then when it doesn’t, you begin to wonder if it’ll ever get better. Drugs don’t always work.

  • Joe February 10, 2009, 7:31 pm

    I personally was suffering from depression, i went to the doctors and he perscribed me cymbalta, I took it for a few months and began physically feeling better. It makes you feel better but doesnt change anything. Its like you forget to care about stuff. Like for example if i couldnt pay a bill, id just be like oh well , Scr*w it. Believe me I already have plenty of financially irresponsible friends, i dont need to be like them. I feel that a certain level of depression is needed in life to be normal. You cant be happy all the time it unhealthy. And Ive noticed that being depressed about not being able to pay bills gave me the motivation to go out there and get the money to pay the bills.

  • Jeni April 3, 2009, 10:05 pm

    Well if you were only depressed about not being able to pay bills.. You werent depressed!!! Seriously anyone who was worried about a bill would be worried… Not depressed.. I cant believe they gave you medication!

  • Kamal Toews August 5, 2010, 5:53 am

    I think that some people choose how they feel, and they have a really negative outlook on life overall.
    These are the ones who, even at 50 or 60 still blame their parents for everything that has gone wrong with their lives, as though they had no way to make a decision along the way. As though the parents should be like Beaver Clever’s mom & dad, or Father Knows Best,,,,totally unrealistic role models displaying the ultimate family fantasy life.
    , where things have a magical way of working out, and Mom is always ready with warm cookies and a purseful of cash to go shopping to soothe the bruised ego, and Daddy comes home happy to see the family, job worries non-existant and put in the proper compartment.
    We are the authors of our fate once we reach teen years. We are expected to make life choices when we are 12 or 15, so somewhere along the way of childhood journeys, we are supposed to figure out for ourselves what makes us happy. Too bad some people are not able to figure this out, but it gets tiring listening to them over the years, the whining and complaining and what ifs and they shoulda’s. . Grow up people & LIVE your life. It’s going to be over soon enough. Why keep looking behind- that part of life is gone forever. You are the architect of your future, you can make choices, and learn to deal with the wrong ones. But even if things don’t turn out the way you thought they would, you can be proud that you did it YOUR way!

  • june September 23, 2010, 7:47 am

    You have some really good motivational points. But have you ever been in the black hole of depression? Are your views from personal life experience?
    I live my life day to day, I do have depreesion, I have my ups and downs, I am generally a happy person, I don’t dwell on the past, but I do have days that I find it very difficult NOT to feel down. I don’t blame my problems on my childhood, I could but I don’t. My life is what I make of it. What my parents did to me as a child has nothing to do with the present. I was sexually abused from ages 4-9 and I was severely beaten on many occassions when I didn’t comply to having a grown man’s penis put in my vigina, yeah I know that is tramatic for a CHILD to go through, but I don’t dwell on it, I don’t pity my self, I just move on when I do think about my sad childhood I just stop thinking about it, and it goes away, simple as that, but back to my comment, I just think that if you have had a very tramatic childhood AND have survived without ANY mental illness problems associated with it, Kudos to you and congratulations, if that is the case You are a very strong person and have dealt with your trauma quite well. BUT if you haven’t had a tramatic life history, I beg of you, please don’t tell people or insinuate — (as my mom has told me in the past) “Just deal with it, stop feeling sorry for your self”. Because each individual has their own level of coping skills. One size DOES NOT FIT all. I say this because I am tired of people telling me that if I don’t think about what happened to me then I won’t be depressed….oh I wish it were that easy I really do, but truth is……..I am still depressed.

  • Julie May 13, 2011, 10:31 am

    The first sentence of this article is misleading. There is absolutely no proof that there is such a thing as a chemical imbalance or serotonin deficiencies, or receptor problems ……. no proof at all. That’s why it says on the medicine “thought to be linked”. This is why depression meds don’t work and cause severe life threatening side affects in some cases. These drugs are being pushed for all sorts of manufactured conditions. 20 million children now take psychotropics every morning before they can go to school. Bipolar in children, or I should say, the diagnosis of bipolar in children has increased 4000% since 1995. How can that be? Because when you don’t have to prove a condition in order to treat it, it’s easy to invent conditions all day long. We are a drugged nation. Until people wake up and realize that these drugs are causing more mental illnesses than they are curing, we will never be able to help the people who truly need it!!!

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