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Suzy Cohen: Have you stopped enjoying life? It could be low dopamine

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Posted: Friday, June 19, 2015 9:41 am

Some people feel so bad they want to die, but don’t follow through because they lack motivation.

Is that you?

You’ve been trained to equate depression with serotonin deficiency, but in fact people with this type of depression don’t usually wish to die. Those with low dopamine might wish to though.

Dopamine deficiency will cause you to wake up sluggish in the morning, usually with brain fog, but you might feel happier and suddenly more enthusiastic with a “hit” of some sort, perhaps a cup of coffee. Low dopamine (as opposed to low serotonin) causes a different kind of depression, one that is hallmarked by a lack of pleasure. Serotonin deficiency makes life less optimistic, and it’s like the glass is always half empty.

Dopamine-related depression forces you to need a “hit” of something sugary, or caffeinated. It may manifest itself differently. Some women want to go shopping, men may want to gamble. Dopamine deficiencies affect more than mood. Most of us don’t think about the ability of getting up out of a chair, walking, and holding a glass of water or writing. We take it for granted, but difficulties here may point to damage in the substantia nigra, a part of your brain where dopamine is made.

Tremors and balance problems, trouble with planning, slower thinking processes are all issues that individuals with Parkinson’s disease struggle with. Parkinson’s disease is due to abnormally low dopamine levels, compounded with high levels of inflammation chemicals in the brain.

Researchers are currently studying a process called “Redox Homeostasis” and how to keep it in balance within the brain, critical for preventing neurodegeneration which leads to depression, Parkinson’s and other neurological disorders. Consider the following if you want to feel better:

1. Quell the free radicals with antioxidants

2. Consider and discuss the use of dopamine-lifting supplements

3. Check thyroid hormone levels properly, follow the instructions for testing as well as my recommended lab values listed in my book, “Thyroid Healthy.”

4. Opt for a healthier diet, not the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) which increases free radicals.

Your microglial cells (immune cells in the brain) fight an uphill battle when there is inflammation. At first it may be subtle, but over time, the cerebral edema erodes your health.

Don’t squirt any lighter fluid on your hot outdoor grill. By that I mean, your brain is on fire. you may already have a diagnosis of depression or Parkinson’s, or you may be post-TIA or stroke and you do things (or eat foods) that light a fire on your brain.

Understanding this process is fundamental to improving mood and slowing neurological degeneration. For a more comprehensive version of this article, sign up for my free newsletter (suzycohen.com). In two weeks, I’ll email you the longer version of article and you will also be able to leave my comments and questions under my articles. When you sign up, I’ll send you a free copy of my newest ebook, valued at $12.95. It’s called “Spices That Heal: 29 Spices That Work Better Than Drugs.”

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. For more information about Suzy Cohen, visit her website at www.suzycohen.com.

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