Serotonin Causes The Startle Response, And Likely PTSD As Well

Discussion in 'Scientific Studies' started by haidut, Dec 12, 2019.

  1. haidut

    haidut Member

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    As my readers know, I have posted quite a few threads in the past on the topic of PTSD. It is a condition that affects up to 30% of current/former military members, and is considered a condition of unknown cause and without treatment. Current treatment options consist of mostly symptom management with serotonergic (SSRI) drugs and despite those "treatment" most of the patients steadily decline. Many of them die as a result of violence (suicide, homicide, crime, etc) and the rest typically die of cancer and CVD, much earlier than their peers. The reason I put "treatment" in quote is that the study below provided evidence demonstrating that those serotonergic drugs may be doing a lot more harm than good and may in fact be ensuring the PTSD state continues indefinitely. After all, PTSD is commonly known among doctors as a "chronically exaggerated" startle / freeze response.

    https://www.hindawi.com/journals/dm/2013/835876/

    "...The intensity of the startle response, a motor reflex, is probably the most robust potential PTSD disease marker to date. As mentioned above, the significance of startle and fear responses as PTSD risk markers is less clear. It was shown repeatedly that elevated startle occurs in both human PTSD patients [7376] and rodents suffering from a PTSD-like syndrome [71, 7780]."

    The study below demonstrates that a rise in serotonin levels is what controls/causes the startle response and blocking serotonin receptors prevented the startle response from occurring. The authors of the study are certain that the same mechanism is at play in every organism complex enough to have a nervous system, including humans. As such, blocking serotonin receptors with chemicals like cyproheptadine may be a viable and truly therapeutic approach. Interestingly enough, cyproheptadine is already used to reduce nightmares in people with PTSD and those studies have shown that PTSD patients on cyproheptadine behave like normal people. However, those extremely promising results were dismissed as either flukes or as being due to those people not really having a PTSD. That's how modern medicine deals with its miserable failures - either claim that it was a result by chance or that the initial diagnosis was wrong. Nobody in charge of public health will willingly kill the goose that lays golden eggs (e.g. the multibillion dollar SSRI industry) unless the corruption/fraud becomes so obvious that social unrest seems likely.

    Redirecting
    Why Do We Freeze When Startled? Fly Study May Have the Answer

    "...A Columbia University study in fruit flies has identified serotonin as a chemical that triggers the body's startle response, the automatic deer-in-the-headlights reflex that freezes the body momentarily in response to a potential threat. Today's study reveals that when a fly experiences an unexpected change to its surroundings, such as a sudden vibration, release of serotonin helps to literally -- and temporarily -- stop the fly in its tracks. These findings, published today in Current Biology, offer broad insight into the biology of the startle response, a ubiquitous, yet mysterious, phenomenon that has been observed in virtually every animal studied to date, from flies to fish to people."

    "...Their initial results revealed that activating neurons that produce serotonin in the VNC slows flies down, while silencing those same neurons speeds flies up. Additional experiments showed that serotonin levels could impact the insects' walking speed under a wide variety of conditions, including different temperatures, when the flies were hungry, or while they walked upside down, all situations that normally affect walking speed. "We witnessed serotonin's biggest effects when the flies experienced rapid environmental changes," said Clare Howard, PhD, the paper's first author. "In other words, when they were startled."

    "..."We found that when a fly is startled in these scenarios, serotonin acts like an emergency brake; its release is needed for them to freeze, and that part of this response may be a result of stiffening both sides of the animal's leg joints," said Dr. Mann, who is also the Higgins Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics (in Systems Biology) at Columbia's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. "This co-contraction could cause the brief pause in walking, after which the insect begins to move." "We think this pause is important," added Dr. Howard, "It could allow the fly's nervous system to gather the information about this sudden change and decide how it should respond."

    "...While these findings are specific to fruit flies, the ubiquity of serotonin and the startle response provides clues as to the chemical and molecular processes that occur when more complex animals, including people, get startled."
     
  2. Tenacity

    Tenacity Member

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    Seems like good evidence that serotonin is involved in POTS and other dysautonomia, which often feature an exaggerated startle response.
     
  3. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    Absolutely. It is also involved in "Meniere's syndrome" (there is really no such thing unless there is physical damage to the middle ear, it's just serotonin overload), unstable gait, Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, morning nausea, "addiction" withdrawal, postexertion malaise, ALL viral infections, etc. It is hard to come up with a disease/condition where serotonin is not involved more or less directly.
     
  4. sugarbabe

    sugarbabe Member

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    I definitely startled really easily when going through stress disorders. I'm kinda confused though because I heard an interview where Peat mentioned you can tell who is hypothyroid in a group by how quickly they react to a sudden noise. Like a reflex response. That must be different than startle.
     
  5. CrystalClear

    CrystalClear Member

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    Is it the same thing when you nearly jump out of your skin when the doorbell rings even when you're expecting someone ? Or feel a jolt in your body when the phone rings? If so, I'm not winning the battle to decrease serotonin. Tim Burzins gave an explanation in his recent video as to why it could be the case when you stop taking SSRI's. What happens in the brain is being amplified. He could be right or wrong. Idk.
     
  6. Regina

    Regina Member

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    :thumbsup:
    It seems to manifest differently. After an extremely stressful situation, I startled more easily. But it manifested as fear of what could happen to my friend. I became a worry wart for everyone in the room. Are you okay? Are you okay? Is everybody okay? Over-protective. Still, I am the person in the dog park who is watching every interaction and the perimeter. Worrying over the little dogs and rough play. Or if any of them feel stressed, I can hardly bear it. Like Rainman's "Hot water burn baby!" panic.
    But how does serotonin overload manifest so bad that people turn into swarming locusts and feel compelled to atrit their environment?
     
  7. Mastemah

    Mastemah Member

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    Startle response is important to survival.
     
  8. yerrag

    yerrag Member

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    Good to know this. Thanks.
     
  9. yerrag

    yerrag Member

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    For the bear, yes. Not when I startle it though, on a hike.

    Remind me to bring cypro on a hike.
     
  10. sugarbabe

    sugarbabe Member

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    Peat said the hypothyroid people have poor reflexes so will react more slowly to a sudden noise.
     
  11. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    Right, when it happens rarely and only during true danger. If life gets to the point where everybody is easily startled and the starling happens quite often, this turns from adaptive into a pathological mechanism. Being constantly startled by even everyday situations is basically PTSD, as the OP mentioned.
     
  12. CrystalClear

    CrystalClear Member

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    And not just seen in war veterans but people who are severely chronically stressed? I used to see it in my elderly mother. She would startle at the slightest thing. Now I see it in myself.
     
  13. Mito

    Mito Member

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    What’s the connection between morning nausea and serotonin? Does serotonin tend to be highest in the morning and is that related to the am cortisol spike?
     
  14. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    Oh absolutely, PTSD can happen to anybody, not just to veterans. And no need to go to war. Car accident, family abuse, work abuse, health problems, can all cause it. There was a recent study that showed at least 20% of people newly diagnosed with cancer develop PTSD simply as a result of being told they have cancer.
    Many grapple with PTSD after a cancer diagnosis
     
  15. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    You nailed it. Serotonin is usually highest in the morning due to elevated cortisol, FAO, hGH, and lack of light. Dopamine production requires retinal exposure to sunlight.
    And yes, nausea is primarily a serotonin-driven issue but it can also happen as a result of hypoglycemia.
     
  16. Tenacity

    Tenacity Member

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    This would mean completely avoiding sunlight would result in sky-high serotonin, right? If insomnia means choosing between minimal light exposure in the winter or sleep deprivation, seems like there's no real way to win.
     
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