ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Signs of Serotonin Deficiency Syndrome

Updated on December 6, 2008

Serotonin is a key neurotransmitter in the regulation of mood, sleep cycles and so much more. Deficiencies in this essential brain chemical can be caused by a wide range of factors including not getting enough sleep, high levels of stress, low exposure to sunlight, unbalanced diets, prescription medications including pain medication as well as excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol and the use of recreational drugs.

Serotonin deficiency is difficult to diagnose though often relatively easy to treat. There are many symptoms that may indicate a serotonin deficiency, all of which are common to some degree in most humans but the combination and severity of symptoms can help medical experts diagnose and treat the deficiency. Here are some of the most easily recognized symptoms; sometimes they can be treated with small lifestyle changes, sometimes a supplement or prescription medication may be required.

Anxiety - This can be anything from mild panic to extreme impairment and distress in a high-stress situation. Many times mild forms of anxiety can be dealt with through coping skills or lifestyle changes, but the more severe forms may require medical attention.

Fatigue - If you catch yourself being tired all the time regardless of the amount of sleep you get, consider caffeine a major food group and habitually experience mental fogginess, there may be something other than just being too tired.

Depression - Let’s face it, everyone has times when they’re just down and melancholy, it’s part of life; however, if you have “the blues” consistently for extended periods of time you may be experiencing a depressed mood that may require additional intervention.

Impaired cognitive function - Can’t remember where you put the car keys and have to think hard about simple math? Cognitive function is directly impacted by serotonin levels and a severe deficiency may result in mental fogginess, minor memory loss and slowed problem-solving abilities.

Low self-esteem - Habitually feeling disgusted by yourself or feeling worthless are not normal things. At times, everyone is bound to believe negative things about themselves. If this severely low self-esteem keeps up for weeks or months, other issues may be the cause.

Loss of pleasure - A marked loss of interest in hobbies previously enjoyed or a sudden lack of even a sense of satisfaction at a job well done are also symptoms of a serotonin deficiency. When the noted lack of pleasure gotten out of activities becomes nearly non-existent, it may be something beyond mere boredom.

Insomnia - Though everyone has the occasional difficulties sleeping at night due to stress or anxiety, insomnia or hyposomnia can be seriously detrimental to health if you’re repeatedly not able to sleep until very late hours and only manage to get a few hours of sleep each night or have sleep that is consistently interrupted by waking and being unable to go back to sleep quickly. On the same token hypersomnia, or too much sleep, may also be a symptom of serotonin deficiency.

Poor impulse control - This may often manifest itself in obsessive-compulsive behaviors, manic spending or in addictions such as drugs or alcohol. Many severe addictions are caused or exacerbated by low levels of serotonin.

Serotonin levels fluctuate fairly easily and deficiencies may cause severe problems in your everyday life. As with any treatments, be sure to consult a physician before attempting to treat these symptoms with supplements or medication.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Answered my question clearly and succinctly. I realise now I'm not going mad and there is an answer. Fab article.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      It isn't easy to treat due to anxiety and depression plus medication trial and error. Once the proper medication is revealed it is high affective. That being said, the proper medication is hard to identify.

      Serotonin tests are not very accurate. Most doctors (including family doctors) will do a test similar to those for ADD and bipolar disorder. Usually multiple doctors have to agree for it to be confirmed. Also, make sure your doctor is up to date with serotonin. Not all are.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have serotonin deficiency syndrome an have had if for some time (I'm 15). What drives me insane is people thinking it only has mental symptoms. While this is all true, it also changes how you perceive pain. I have a basically no existent immune system, fibromyalgia, and horrible body temperature fluxuations. I also have reoccuring UTIs and kidney infections.


      That's all.... (you can see my impulse control here haha)

      PS You can also have hyposomnia VS insomnia.

    • Jennifer Madison profile image

      Jennifer Madison 

      8 years ago from Lohmar

      Great article! I love reading about Serotonin, it's so interesting.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      yes ellie go to the website and they have tests there to determine not only a serotonin deficiency but also epinephrine and other neurotransmitters just to give you an idea. Although research some of the tests to make sure. I ordered a neuro adrenal to test all my neurotransmitters.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      are there any tests you can do to find out if you have a deficiancy?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Good article useful information I voted up.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)