How a Chemical Imbalance Affects Depression

For people who have depression and signs of a substance use disorder, seeking out depression treatment and support could make a big difference in their lives. At Alina Lodge, we offer options to improve mental health and to address addiction, so our students have an opportunity to thrive in the future.

What Is a Chemical Imbalance in the Brain?

A chemical imbalance in the brain happens when the brain has too many or too few neurotransmitters of varied kinds. An imbalance may lead to different types of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, or other disorders.

Neurotransmitters have an essential job of transferring information between the brain and nerve cells, but when they’re out of balance, those messages aren’t delivered correctly.

How Does a Chemical Imbalance Affect Depression?

Depression could be caused by insufficient levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin or dopamine. Some of the symptoms that can be caused by insufficient levels of neurotransmitters include:

  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Extreme mood changes
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Hearing voices
  • Overeating
  • Loss of appetite
  • A lack of energy
  • Feelings of impending doom or anger
  • Suicidal thoughts

All of these symptoms are possible when the brain is not delivering messages the way it should be. These symptoms are indicators that professional help may be needed, such as the high-quality care at Alina Lodge.

What Causes Chemical Imbalances in the Brain?

No one really knows why some people have chemical imbalances in their brains, but it’s believed that there are three factors that influence the neurotransmitters:

  • Social factors, like trauma and stress
  • Environmental factors, such as growing up in a violent home
  • Genetics

Depression is believed to be from a lack of serotonin in the brain, but it’s unclear how that chemical becomes imbalanced in some people.

Are There Ways to Correct Chemical Imbalances Through Mental Health Treatment?

Yes. There are several ways to attempt to correct chemical imbalances to treat the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other conditions. One of the ways that people often start with is trying to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.

Eating well-balanced meals and potentially taking supplements to improve vitamin and nutrient levels could help provide the brain with the right building blocks to make the neurochemicals needed in the body.

Exercise may also help because it causes the brain to release dopamine and other chemicals that may boost a person’s mood.

These two options are the most basic and holistic options. Other treatment plans may include:

  • Medication-assisted treatment with SSRIs, SNRIs, benzodiazepines, or other medications
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • EMDR therapy
  • Psychotherapy therapy
  • Motivational interviewing

In some cases, electroshock therapy is still used, though it is not nearly as dangerous as it was in the past. It is now highly controlled and targets specific areas of the brain. It has been shown that some people with major depressive disorder do improve with ECT.

Can Correcting a Chemical Imbalance Help with a Dual Diagnosis?

Yes. If you or someone you love are dealing with depression or anxiety, there is a potential that those conditions are making the reliance on other substances worse. By relieving the underlying issue of the chemical imbalance, many clients find that they do not need to rely on substances that they once used to cope.

Contact Alina Lodge for Help with a Chemical Imbalance in the Brain

At Alina Lodge, we offer treatment for dual diagnoses, mental health conditions, and substance use disorders. We know how difficult it is for families and their loved ones to live with these conditions, and we want you to know that we are here to help with family therapy, CBT, relapse prevention, and more. Contact us today at 833.685.1700 to learn more about our programs.

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