‘What is serotonin?’ – a commonly asked question for anyone recently diagnosed with depression or struggling with alcoholism. Serotonin is a type of neurotransmitter. Before further explaining what is serotonin, we must address what neurotransmitters are. Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that transmit nerve impulses from neuron to neuron, causing us to experience various sensations and feelings.
Now back to what is serotonin: Serotonin is associated with mood regulation. Serotonin is one of the “feel good” neurotransmitters that makes us feel happy. Many people are born with deficiencies in their serotonin levels and don’t find out about it until much later in life. The results of these deficiencies in what is serotonin neurotransmitters can lead to depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction, among other things.
Alcohol temporarily raises serotonin and other neurotransmitter systems. Once the effect of alcohol wears off after persistent heavy drinking, serotonin levels are left lower than their innate levels. This leaves the individual craving more alcohol, to once again feel the pleasantness of high serotonin levels.
Learn more about serotonin and the other neurotransmitters of the brain, as well as their role in addiction in Dr. Von Stieff’s video or book, Brain In Balance: Understanding the Genetics and Neurochemistry behind Addiction and Sobriety.