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High Serotonin Levels: Symptoms & Adverse Reactions

Serotonin (5-HT) is a neurotransmitter that most people associate with mood. It is a derivative of tryptophan and is present throughout the body in the CNS, GI tract, and blood. Most people have heard that if you have low serotonin, you’re more likely to be depressed, but not many have heard of high serotonin. While normal serotonin production can help maintain a balanced mood, promote relaxation, and help improve memory – some people end up with high serotonin.

Those that end up with high serotonin levels typically take either drugs and/or supplements that artificially elevate low serotonin. Since low serotonin is problematic, high serotonin must be the exact opposite right? Not necessarily. Slightly elevated serotonin can help those with major depression – which is why an SSRI medication is considered a first-line treatment option.

Although moderate serotonin levels are beneficial for healthy brain function, abnormally high serotonin production can lead to an array of problems as well. High serotonin is typically caused by serotonergic pharmaceutical drugs, supplements, and certain illicit drugs. If you suspect you have high serotonin, it is important to seek medical attention as it could be fatal.

High Serotonin Levels (Symptoms)

Those that have ever taken multiple serotonergic agents (intentionally or unintentionally) have likely experienced mild to moderately high serotonin. Below is a list of symptoms that you may experience if your serotonin level is elevated beyond the norm.

  • Agitation: Some people experience an increase in inner restlessness or feel agitated when serotonin levels become too high. This may seem counterintuitive as low levels can also lead to agitation, but abnormally high levels can produce the same effect. You may be unable to sit still and feel nervous.
  • Dilated pupils: Those that have elevated levels of serotonin may find that their pupils are more dilated than usual. This increased dilation is caused by muscle groups in the iris becoming heavily activated as a result of the high serotonergic stimulation.
  • Dizziness: Some people report feeling more dizzy than usual when their serotonin levels increase. If the dizziness becomes severe, it may be a sign that you need to seek immediate medical attention. High levels of serotonin is known to produce a cascade of unwanted physiological symptoms.
  • Fatigue: Some people notice that they feel drowsy, sleepy, or have a lower than average energy level when their serotonin is high. While the effects of serotonin increases are subject to individual variation, those that have high amounts may feel depleted of energy or become increasingly tired.
  • Goose bumps: Another obvious sign that your serotonin levels are too high is that you have goose bumps across your skin. This may be directly related to shivering, body temperature changes, and altered nervous system function.
  • Headache: A common symptom of high serotonin levels is a headache. The headache you experience may be mildly uncomfortable or severe to the point that it makes you feel sick. Generally the headache will be accompanied by other symptoms if too much serotonin is the cause.
  • High blood pressure: High levels of serotonin can increase your blood pressure, and in some cases, may cause a permanent condition known as pulmonary hypertension. Serotonin has been directly linked to causing certain types of hypertension. It is recommended to keep serotonin levels within a safe range.
  • Hypomania: Some people may experience hypomania as a result of a serotonin increase beyond normal means. This may occur in individuals with bipolar 2 disorder, but others may experience it as well. The serotonin system is funny in that some people who are non-bipolar experience hypomania with administration of serotonin raising drugs.
  • Mania: This is characterized by significant talkativeness, socialization, euphoria, and risky behaviors (e.g. excess spending). In some people, mania may be triggered by high levels of serotonin. While mania may be more likely to occur among those with bipolar disorder, artificially elevated serotonin as a result of pharmaceuticals may also cause temporary mania.
  • Rapid heart rate: It is common for a person’s heart rate to increase when their serotonin level becomes too high. If you notice a change in your heart rate, you should enlist the help of a medical professional to get the serotonin level lowered.
  • Relaxation: For certain individuals, the relaxation response is enhanced by mild to moderate elevations in serotonin. This is what tends to reduce various types of anxiety and phobias. The serotonin elevation helps a person stay calm and remain relaxed in situations that would otherwise stress them out.
  • Restlessness: Some people may become excessively restless and unable to sit still. This may be accompanied by poor balance and coordination, despite the fact that the person is unable to remain calm. It may also be fueled by an inner sensation of agitation.
  • Shivering: Since serotonin plays a role in temperature regulation, some people may feel hot and cold flashes, notice changes in body temperature, and start to shiver. Shivers are a common sign that a person has artificially elevated their serotonin levels to an extreme.
  • Sweating: You may start to sweat excessively with high levels of serotonin. This is due to the fact that your brain and nervous system doesn’t know how to handle the abnormally high amount of this neurotransmitter. Profuse sweating should subside when the serotonin level is decreased.
  • Weight gain: Many people end up gaining weight on medications that elevate serotonin. (Read: “Antidepressants and Weight Gain“). High levels of serotonin may affect the metabolism, motivation, as well as energy levels – making people feel lazier than they should.

Note: Keep in mind that the number of symptoms you experience and severity of each symptom will be subject to individual variation. Each person is different and will likely experience individualized reactions to the serotonin elevation.

High Serotonin Adverse Reactions

Understand that high serotonin levels can lead to a condition known medically as “serotonin syndrome.” This is a condition that can be fatal if it isn’t treated immediately. If you suspect that your serotonin levels are too high, a medical professional should be able to help.

  • Confusion: A serious symptom that may emerge is that of mental confusion. The person may struggle with memories, conversation, and may appear to be acting drugged or downright goofy. This increased mental confusion may make it difficult for the person to perform even menial cognitive tasks.
  • Death: The reason you need to seek immediate medical help if you suspect high serotonin is to avoid death. In some cases, high levels of serotonin are fatal and could end a person’s life. Always go into the doctor or emergency room if you have taken multiple serotonergic drugs as a combination.
  • Diarrhea: Some people develop severe bouts of diarrhea from serotonin toxicity. This is a neurotransmitter that is found in the GI tract and may be involved in digestive processes. Too much serotonin disrupts the GI tract and can result in us feeling sick with diarrhea.
  • Fever: It is common to experience changes in body temperature as a result of serotonin syndrome. You may feel physically chilled and experience body shivers, but you may simultaneously be running a fever. If you have a fever, this is a sign that your body isn’t able to handle the serotonin increase.
  • Irregular heartbeat: It was already mentioned that you may experience an increased heart rate, but you may also experience an irregular heartbeat – which is problematic. An irregular heartbeat may put excess strain on your heart functioning. This is a sign that you need to be medically evaluated.
  • Loss of balance: If you feel as if you cannot properly walk or maintain balance, this is another sign of too much serotonin. There is often significant interference in our coordination when we have high levels of serotonin in the brain.
  • Muscle twitching: Your muscles may twitch excessively as a result of serotonin elevations. If you notice that certain parts of your body start to twitch, realize that it’s probably a result of serotonin toxicity.
    Seizures: In extreme cases, some people respond to serotonin increases by having seizures. To prevent a seizure, it is recommended to do whatever you can to lower your serotonin as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
  • Unconsciousness: Some people may end up fainting or becoming unconscious if serotonin levels rise too high. If you feel faint or as if you may pass out, it’s best to get into the emergency room as soon as possible.
  • Vomiting: Some people end up feeling so nauseous with flu-like symptoms that they end up vomiting. While vomiting may be good in that it could clear some serotonin-based drugs from the system, this is a sign that a person needs immediate medical intervention.
  • Weakness: Feeling physically weakened as if you’ve lost all your strength is a clear sign of an adverse reaction. You may tremble or feel as if you cannot walk without collapsing.

How To Decrease Serotonin Levels

There are several ways in which you can decrease your levels of serotonin. Keep in mind that if you suspect serotonin syndrome, seek immediate medical attention. Other recommendations are provided for those who want to systematically lower the effect of serotonin on their functioning.

  • Activated charcoal: An obvious intervention for preventing high serotonin after ingesting too many antidepressant drugs or a combination is that of activated charcoal. However, in order for activated charcoal to have any effect, it must be taken within 30 minutes of the ingestion of the serotonergic agent. If it isn’t taken within a close proximity of the serotonergic agent, it may not be effective. This is an immediate intervention strategy should a person attempt to overdose.
  • Dietary interventions: Certain dietary strategies can help you reduce the amount of serotonin in your system. Including substances like gelatin and collagen are thought to help decrease the production and absorption of serotonin. Additionally you can lower the number of foods that you eat containing tryptophan (which your body converts into serotonin). A lower carbohydrate, higher protein diet should help reduce endogenous serotonin levels.
  • Drugs: There are several drugs that doctors will administer patients with abnormally high levels of serotonin. Most commonly administred are 5-HT2A antagonists which help reverse the effects of serotonin toxicity. A couple of commonly used 5-HT2A antagonists that doctors prescribe for individuals with abnormally high serotonin include: Cyproheptadine and Chlorpromazine.
  • Supplements: If you want to decrease serotonin levels over time, you could supplement BCAAs (branch chain amino acids). These seem to be effective at inhibiting the uptake of tryptophan in the brain. The only problem you may run into is that they also affect other amino acids like tyrosine. You may also want to consider supplementing L-Tyrosine or a dopaminergic substance as it may counteract the effects of serotonin.

Conditions associated with High Serotonin

There are several conditions and situations in which a person may end up with abnormally high serotonin. The most common cause of high serotonin is from taking antidepressants.

  • Depression treatment: If you’re on an antidepressant, but decide to take another one along with it, you may experience serotonin syndrome. Mixing multiple antidepressants or exceeding the recommended dosage guidelines of your current medication may result in symptoms associated with high serotonin.
  • Illicit drug use: Some people that use illicit drugs aren’t aware of the fact that they could end up experiencing serotonin syndrome. This is a risk with certain stimulants (e.g. MDMA), psychedelics (e.g. LSD), and various opioids (e.g. Oxycodone). While most people do not end up experiencing serotonin syndrome from a low dose of illicit drugs, higher doses and/or interaction effects can produce high serotonin.
  • Osteoporosis: After prolonged use of serotonin-based antidepressants, people can develop osteoporosis. This is due to the fact that when serotonin levels increase in the intestinal tract, it leads to bone loss. In addition increases in serotonin also lead to increased secretions of prolactin and cortisol – which remove calcium from the bone. This leads to weakened bones and hardened arteries.
  • Overmethylation: This is a condition caused by an SNP (polymorphism) of the MTHFR gene.  Those that are “overmethylators” tend to create abnormally high levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin.  Blood tests reveal that overmethylation tends to also result in high levels of copper, low histamine, and low zinc.  While serotonin syndrome isn’t likely, a person may experience a reduced libido, low motivation and energy, as well as a depression caused by high serotonin.
  • Pulmonary hypertension: There is significant evidence to support the idea that high levels of serotonin can cause pulmonary hypertension. Serotonin elevations lead to constriction of the blood vessels and thickening of the heart valves. Long-term elevations of serotonin is a likely contributor to this condition.
  • Serotonin syndrome: Obviously the most common condition associated with high serotonin is that of “serotonin syndrome.” This is a potentially fatal condition stemming from too much serotonin within the central nervous system. Serotonin syndrome can affect a person’s cognitive function, coordination and balance, and result in flu-like symptoms.

Have you experienced high serotonin?

If you’ve had an experience in which you’ve experienced high levels of serotonin, feel free to share it in the comments section below. Awhile back I had experienced abnormally high serotonin as a result of taking Prozac and Paxil together. I was unaware that this could actually be a deadly combo. Fortunately I was on relatively low doses of each and I’m thinking I experienced a moderate elevation in serotonin.

This resulted in me feeling slightly hypomanic, I had a pounding headache, felt dizzy, and somewhat disoriented. I also recall experiencing goose bumps and had a slight temperature change. It was pretty uncomfortable, but at the time I figured it was probably just side effects from the drugs and not any serotonergic contraindication.

Most people that experience a serotonin overload do so accidentally as a result of taking multiple serotonergic antidepressants together or taking an SSRI with a supplement like 5-HTP. It is important to be aware of the fact that serotonin elevations can certainly help someone with depression, but abnormally high levels can be dangerous and detrimental to a person’s health.

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35 thoughts on “High Serotonin Levels: Symptoms & Adverse Reactions”

  1. Reading these comments proves to me that I was correct in my belief that SSRI’s make my anxiety worse!! I would love it if they worked for me as every Doctor I have tried to get help from has insisted on prescribing SSRI’s I was psycho on those things especially the Paxil and Zolft.

    My heart rate stays at 116 or higher all of the time, I cannot find a Dr. who will help me because they ALL think I need SSRIs I have been dealing with these issues for 30 years!! please tell me where I can get help before I end up dead!!

    • Please try finding a good Naturopathic physician who is willing to do labs and then treat accordingly. I have struggled with similar issues with my children – well meaning psychiatrists who end up exacerbating the problem. Sadly, we are a pharmaceutical driven society, and I have learned so much through this process of trial and error. If it’s not working for you, find someone who can help treat the cause, rather than just medicating the symptoms. Good luck!

  2. There is also a rare cancer that causes elevated serotonin levels. It is neuroendocrine cancer particularly carcincoic. I went misdiagnosed ten years until it was stage four. You can live a long time with it, but it needs to be monitored closely and treated.

  3. Hi… I wanted to document my own experiences with serotonin syndrome. Multiple times I have been recommended to go on AntiDs. I have resisted each time. In mid-November, as Thanksgiving approached, I decided to again consider it and researched. I found you can do serious self-medicating with OTCs.

    I stacked 5-HTP, VitB6, Tryptophan and St. Johns Wort. After a day I started to have neck stiffness, and then I had a sudden severe bout of dizziness: not only did I feel dizzy, but the internal gyroscope controlling my vision was shutting off and my visual field started to spin and spin. I wondered what was up.

    A day later, after much sleeping, I came across “serotonin syndrome”. AntiDs are known to have brain stem interactions (this is where serotonin is primarily made) and this is where my stiffness and swelling was.

    So, my symptoms were: 1)early onset of high neck, base of skull neck stiffness, 2)swelling, immobilization in same area, 3)general cloudiness with anxiety, 4)sudden onset of severe retardation of the balance function.

    Hope this helps. Cloudy anxiety is SO much worse than the routine gloom I frequently feel. Ick. Q

  4. I’ve been taking tramadol for six months for chronic back pain and started taking sertraline two months ago. I’ve suffered with migraines before but the frequency increased, the pain in my back and hips became worse so I took more tramadol (within the prescribed limit). I developed severe pain in my knees to the point that walking and getting up from a seat was difficult.

    The muscles in my thighs became tight and painful, my leg muscles would also twitch. I suffered horrendous night sweats,, sleep disturbance due to restlessness and palpitations. Last Friday I was in so much pain when I woke up that I could hardly move. For some reason this prompted me to look up using tramadol and Sertraline together. What I found explained my symptoms, Serotonin Syndrome.

    I called my GP and spoke to reception, nobody could see me. A do for called me a few hours later and suggested I stop taking the Sertraline for 2 weeks. I got very upset as I did. It want to go back to feeling as depressed as I did before I had it. She then said reduce the tramadol and I could see my GP on Wednesday as this was her next available appointment.

    I stopped the tramadol from then on and I am pleased to say that my symptoms have improved, some have almost completely gone. I am concerned to say the least that my GP prescribed me a drug that would react so badly with one that I was already taking, in the very least she should have made me aware of the potential side effects. This was I could have kept an eye out for them and prevented myself from suffering as I did.

    I have lost faith in my GP, especially as they prescribed my mum a drug that she was allergic to, and well documented as such in her notes, that worsened her condition and she was hospitalized. My questions are, would I have developed more serious symptoms had I continued taking the two medications? Are there any long term effects that I need to be checked for? Was my GP negligent?

  5. Since being advised I had high levels of serotonin at night which increased my blood pressure – the advice was to sit out in the sun early in the morning which would help the dopamine to cut in. This does work and one feels a lot more energetic.

  6. So I’ve been dealing with anxiety and on-and-off depression for a few years since I started college (I’m 23 now, female). I went to an internal medicine practice, and they gave me Omega-3, MoodFood, and RelaxMax by Xymogen. The latter two supplements help with “neurotransmitter formation” and increase levels of serotonin to help with my anxiety.

    My anxiety has improved. However, I’ve started to feel depressed with a headache and feelings of heaviness in my head, and I’m not sure if it’s just me or if it has anything to do with these supplements. I took the MoodFood together with St. John’s Wart and Sam-e (a HUGE mistake, don’t ever do this), I experienced serotonin syndrome… anxiety, mania, intense shivering/feelings of being cold, confusion, the works.

    It’s about five days since that happened, and I’m back to feeling this depression. If anyone has experienced depression as a side effect from taking meds that increase serotonin, please let me know!

    • I am tapering off of Effexor and Mirtazapine, a very long slow taper to where I am down to single digit mgs on both. Last week I took CBD oil for several nights to help me sleep. It worked at first, but then I began to feel my mood slipping.

      I stopped taking the CBD oil a few nights ago but my symptoms have worsened, to the point I can’t eat, have no interest in food and am nauseous, wake at 4 am with rumination. Extremely low mood, dread, fear, anxiety, no energy. I learned that CBD oil blocks the cytochrome p450 enzymes that clear the ADs and so a buildup can occur.

      Though I’m on such a low dose of each I think the CBD oil caused a spike in levels and thus raised serotonin. I had SS before and it wasn’t as bad as that, but the mood issues alone are debilitating. I’m hoping I will get back to normal soon! I feel so sick!

  7. I take paxil daily and unfortunately I use meth daily as well. At times I get dizzy spells, and get fatigued even after doing meth (which isn’t the typical response). I have had conversations and not remembered what they were even about, and I am getting confused easily. My body temperature is not raised, and I don’t feel sick. It may just be from using meth, but it didn’t used to effect me this way when I wasn’t taking the paxil. Just curious of I may have a chance of having it without having all the symptoms?

  8. I have had several bouts with slight overload of serotonin, it is like a night in hell. Who could ever use this MDMA recreationally is nuts. First there is the anxiety,& unexplained nervousness, shivering, headache, & feelings of doom really.

    I never had dilated eyeballs though. But my mouth was so God awful dry like the Sahara desert & nothing improved it. Then there seemed to be waves of tachycardia, fast heart rate & like a high BP sensation that would come and go. I got this from taking too much melatonin, 2 10 mg time released & 2 5mg regulator tabs.

    I read that excess melatonin can be recycled back to the brain as serotonin! Well turns out that is too much for me! I always have cyproheptadine with me now and even a capsule of GINGER you can prepare from your spice cabinet will help. As ginger is an antagonist for one of the 5HT serotonin as there are many subsets. Good luck and never take a full dose these SSRI that are prescribed – you maybe sorry.

  9. I have been hospitalized twice this week with ‘mystery’ symptoms of sweating, heart racing, dry mouth, dizziness… panicky agitation. Both times no one considered serotonin elevation… thank god for google. I now understand what has happened and I have reduced my high dose of citalopram and hopefully never experience this awful thing again. Truly terrifying. You would think given my history of antidepressant use someone would have realized… but no!

  10. I have a condition commonly referred to as “histamine intolerance”, also known as MAST Cell Degranulation Syndrome. Basically the MAST cells are the initiators of the immune system, and signal the immune system to come to the rescue. They release both histamine and serotonin. If you have too many MAST cells or they release too soon, you can have a mess.

    I basically have too high levels of histamine and serotonin all the time. If I have an event or series of events that trigger MAST cells (food allergy, inhalant allergy, cold), I can end up with way too much histamine and way too much serotonin. You can look up histamine intolerance to learn more about that, but since we are talking serotonin here, I will talk about that.

    I have had dozens of incidents from mild to serious that closely match the descriptions of serotonin syndrome. Heart palpitations, headache, fatigue and hypothermia/shivering, stomach pain, runs, joint pain, anxiety, mania, dilated pupils, clenched jaw–all in varying degrees from “uncomfortable” to “ready for 911.” They all were related to events about 3-5 days earlier that would cause MAST cell degranulation in me–apparently an easy path.

    The symptoms of excessive serotonin lasted about 3-4 days. The only thing that seems to help is cyproheptadine. The pharmacist usually tells me that there are better, newer antihistamines when I go to get a script, and I listen and nod–not for me though! I have found that it is important to pay attention to supplements that are in the serotonin pathway.

    So no 5-HTP, and I really have to keep consumption of theanine and serine down, and even B-12. I am not on any SRI’s or other pharms. So if you suffer from “histamine intolerance”, you may also be prone to excess serotonin. It would depend on exactly why your particular body manifested histamine intolerance (there are multiple genetic/environmental possibilities) as to whether or not you could also end up with excess serotonin.

    I’m not a doctor, but have pretty much figured this all out through trial and error and a lot of reading. Just wanted to offer this completely different trail that leads to the same mountain top.

    • Hi Kevin, Can you please share how you got over your Serotonin Syndrome and how you got your doctor to prescribe your medication? Also do you have any non-obvious tips to dealing with both high histamine and serotonin?

      I’m currently experiencing Serotonin Syndrome and it took more than 1 week to figure it out. I have high histamine (but not sure if I have histamine intolerance) as well as seasonal respiratory allergies that turned to year-round. Much appreciated!

  11. I have been on 25mg of Sertraline (Zoloft) for a few year due to menopause related issues, also on 2 blood pressure meds and have a prescription for adderall which I cut in half and don’t take regularly. Also have a low dose Xanax script. I experienced a severe tooth infection which caused facial cellulitis. The dentist immediately prescribed Percocet and IV antibiotics followed by daily script of oral antibiotics.

    I also took Xanax because I was very anxious as my face ballooned to where my right eye closed completely. I looked like I went a few rounds with Ali! You would think that I would have slept for a week while taking all those meds, but it was the worst, most unrestful sleep (when it occurred) and I had to get up many times during the night to use the bathroom (very unusual for me).

    I had body aches and heartburn and the worst stomach ache everyday. My joints were screaming and I had hallucinations. But, the worst effect was my mood! I became very angry and confrontational, then weepy and argumentative. My husband refers to this week as “The Test” of his marriage vows! I can’t remember 95% of the that week!

    I finally looked up all these meds and figured out myself that the combinations could have been lethal. I understand that doctors/dentists want to alleviate your pain and get an infection under control so they can work with you, but does anybody bother to ask what meds you’re on before prescribing? I don’t think so!

    My dentist didn’t know all the meds I was taking because he prescribed to me on a Sunday while he was golfing! You don’t know what you don’t know, but after doing the research I can tell you I’m sure I had Serotonin Syndrome. I saw hell and it isn’t pretty, just ask my husband!

  12. I recently started on an SSRI and I developed the following symptoms: Mental confusion, sweating, shaking, severe agitation, nausea, severe bowel upsets, and this culminated in my collapsing in the street. I’m told I had a severe serotonin reaction after taking the tablets. I now manage my depression with exercise, diet and above all sleep as well as mental coping strategies.

    Sometimes I envy those who can take SSRI’s and get the benefit from them, but for myself it would seem they are a no-go. I am told it may be related to heavy usage of Ecstasy and Cocaine in my 20’s. Live and learn! I am feeling much better in myself these days though.

  13. Hi MentalHealthDaily, I take 5-htp in the winter to help with my SAD and it works well but overtime I tend to increase the dose to 3 x 100mg tablets per day despite the on-pack advice saying 1 per day. Should I be overly concerned? And, at what point could I expect symptoms. For reference; I take brain-feed’s 5-htp because they claim to be the most premium available.

  14. I just discovered elevated levels of serotonin. My doctor says it would be related to my thyroid medication, that it would indicate I’m hyperthyroid with too much Thyroid-medication (I have autoimmune hypothyroidism). However, I am not sure if this is the case, due to the fact I have too low rt3/ft3 ratio, which would indicate t3 hormone does not go to cellular level in adequate amounts.

    Could you advice if serotonin tells anything about thyroid medication? I’m confused and do not know whether to drop my medication (and probably end up hypothyroid again), or to add t3 medication besides natural thyroid medication to get rid of rt3-problem… Thank you already in advance!

  15. I have suffered serotonin syndrome three times. The last one was this past March 2016. Since my hospitalizations I have been followed closely by psychiatrist and family doc. I still do not feel well, or even feel half my previous self. I have severe joint pain, lower limb swelling, difficulty focusing, no motivation. I avoid any and every drug that could possibly cause serotonin surge. Are there long term effects to this syndrome?

  16. Good to know I’m not alone or crazy. I NEVER had a good experience on E or MDMA the very few times I tried it. I just thought I was allergic to it or something, the same thing would always happen. I had intense body highs, I would throw up, I felt like I was going to die, I became introverted, and was always inside my head trying to calm myself down and convince myself I was not dying.

    My psychiatrist put me on 10mg Lexapro.. never been on antidepressants before… and told me to start by taking half. So that’s only 5mg… and guess what happened… I went to the ER because I was convinced I was dying, I couldn’t breathe normally, and I threw up. I felt how I felt pretty much every time I ever tried E.

    I think you all would benefit from doing a DNA testing. My psychiatrist had me take one and it breaks down EVERYTHING for you.. how your body reacts to certain drugs what drugs to avoid… what drugs you may be able to take. We discovered I have a slow metabolism and drugs take a long time to effect me and when they do BAM! The effects HIT ME almost all at once, and they take longer to leave my system. I also have a few deficiencies like folic acid, etc. The test is very interesting.

    I have been on ADHD medication on and off for years, my psychiatrist says that the lexapro with the adderall could have very well been a reaction which I believe could have been a part of it but I usually always feel okay on adderall, no huge issues… but I’ve never felt the way that I do as described earlier from any other drug but drugs that release excess amounts of serotonin. Just can’t do it.

    • Same exact thing happened to me. It has been over a month since I used MDMA (first time ever), then I was having panic attacks a week after. I went to doctor and they gave me WAY too high a dosage of Lexapro and felt like I was rolling all over again. I found a new doctor who told me my serotonin was too high and I needed to level out.

      I now found I that I have slightly overactive thyroid. Don’t know if there is any correlation with using MDMA, but I still don’t feel good. I have night sweats and insomnia…don’t sleep for more than 3 solid hours. How long did it take for your serotonin to level out and for you to feel better?

  17. I have had serotonin syndrome twice, and both times was not diagnosed with it because I did not run a high temperature, nor got nauseous. I believe this is because I have no Thyroid, because of this I have lived with a continues high level of serotonin that would cause me all kinds of problems if I take about any kind of medicine. The last time I had serotonin syndrome I had close to 30 side effects.

    I have had close to 7 doctors that does not believe I have serotonin toxicity, and have not bothered to even test me for this problem. Can you inform me of a research institution that may be interested in helping me? Somebody needs to let doctors know how serious of a problem serotonin is becoming, as far as, more people coming down with serotonin toxicity, and serotonin syndrome!

  18. I have muscular dystrophy, and my neurologist has me on a Fentanyl patch (100 mcg) and Oxycodone for the pain associated with it. Along with that, I had begun experiencing anxiety and depression due to menopause. Seeing my GP for this issue, he started me on both Prempro (HRT) and Lexapro (an antidepressant).

    I lasted maybe six weeks taking the Prempro, as the nausea side effects were worse than the hot flashes. However, I continued taking the Lexapro with the belief it would greatly help with my depression. Big mistake. When I initially contacted my physician (when he gave me the prescriptions) that I ran a drug interaction checker on the internet that indicated a severe problem taking the Lexapro along with the Fentanyl and Oxycodone, he got on the phone and literally snapped at me.

    ‘You think Dr. Google knows more than me? I wouldn’t have prescribed anything that would interact with your pain killers’. So… I kept taking the Lexapro along with everything else, believing he knows best. But this afternoon when I could barely take two steps due to lack of strength, and my legs feel like jello, am discovering from Internet research that I probably have a severe case of serotonin syndrome.

    The only thing I can think to do is stop taking the Lexapro immediately and hope my legs regain their strength in time. And find another family physician.

  19. Here is my experience with having too much serotonin. I have had serotonin toxicity 4 times. In my youth from MDMA, which had the exact opposite effect on me. I felt extreme agitation and frustration, I isolated and shook for hours where my friends were experiencing euphoria. The second time was from a non narcotic pain reliever for a spinal injury and my reaction was notable but mild (ultram), next in an attempt to deal with the same neuro damage in my spine I was given a tricyclic.

    After several hours I couldn’t move, had lock jaw and could not call for help. I was alone. It took two days before I could get out of the trance. I went to the ER as soon as I could and they thought I was crazy. :/ I went back to my doctor, this time armed with my neurologist step father, who believed that I had a bad experience with the tricyclic. After conferring with my doctor I reluctantly agree to try Cymbalta.

    Dad stayed with me. Within 20 minutes of taking one Cymbalta, my eyes began to shake, I got lock jaw, could not speak, felt trapped in my head and had little control over my body. I got to the ER and was rushed through. I had a temp of 104 and was given two medications to fix me. I felt like a rhino being taken down by a dart in the desert. I was on the mend within an hour although I did not feel better for several days.

  20. I’ve been taking antidepressants for muscle tension headaches and recently bought Rhodiola Rosea. Within 10 minutes of taking it I started to faint and my blood pressure was 45. Thought I was breathing my last. Thanks for the info about Serotonin Syndrome.

  21. I was taking cymbalta and amitriptyline and after 2 days I woke up with extreme burning tingling in my chest and legs… the room felt like it was enclosing on my head 10x faster than normal. I knew there was a problem when my pupils were so dilated that they blacked out my entire eye. Followed by severe headache, twitching, fever, cold sweats, rapid heart rate, then slow irregular heart beat finally sever chest pain, it lasted for about 3 days and was the scariest shit I have had. I will never take that medication again, I also was taking 80mg of oxycodone with it everyday…

  22. Hi, After reading the book LIGHTS OUT, I seem to relate to the idea of having high serotonin and low dopamine. I believe high serotonin will make one feel more anxious – not the ‘well being’ that is often associated with serotonin.

    • You’re correct. Look into a letter written by a Beat Generation writer and recreational drug user, William Burroughs, I think the title is called “Master Addict” or something. Even back in his day, he had more information about how drugs affect our brains than I have ever had from any doctor or school health class.

      We tend to lump all “drugs” into one category, but they’re not. There’s the ones that make you manic and schitzy, and the ones that just calm you down. The dopamine/serotonin difference is what draws the line between them. Any doctor that offers you an SSRI for anxiety should be labeled a fraud and treated like a the snake oil salesman he is.

  23. Hi Natalia. I recently have had a blood test showing that I have elevated serotonin levels. I am now undergoing other testing in order to rule out carcinoid cancer. Carcinoids will raise serotonin levels. It might be prudent to talk to your physician more about this… and there is lots of info on the internet. Blessings, Elizabeth

  24. Hello, my last blood test found high levels of serotonin, but I don’t use drugs, and I am not taking any medicine. I would like to understand that. Thank you.


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