Skip to comments.Mother-daughter Conflict, Low Serotonin Level May Be Deadly Combination
Posted on 03/07/2008 10:32:49 AM PST by blam
Mother-daughter Conflict, Low Serotonin Level May Be Deadly Combination
ScienceDaily (Mar. 7, 2008) A combination of negative mother-daughter relationships and low blood levels of serotonin, an important brain chemical for mood stability, may be lethal for adolescent girls, leaving them vulnerable to engage in self-harming behaviors such as cutting themselves.
New University of Washington research indicates that these two factors in combination account for 64 percent of the difference among adolescents, primarily girls, who engage in self-harming behaviors and those who do not.
"Girls who engage in self harm are at high risk for attempting suicide, and some of them are dying," said Theodore Beauchaine, a UW associate professor of psychology and co-author of a new study. "There is no better predictor of suicide than previous suicide attempts."
The paper, co-authored by Sheila Crowell, one of his doctoral students, appeared recently in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
Beauchaine said the relationship between the level of mother-daughter conflict and self-harming behavior was not strong. There was a stronger relationship between serotonin levels and self-harming behavior. But when both factors were considered together, the relationship to self-harming behaviors was very strong.
"Most people think in terms of biology or environment rather than biology and environment working together," he said. "Having a low level of serotonin is a biological vulnerability for self-harming behavior and that vulnerability increases remarkably when it is paired with maternal conflict."
To understand this relationship, the researchers recruited 20 adolescents with a history of self-harming behavior and 21 age-matched adolescents who did not harm themselves. Adolescents were considered self-injuring if they had harmed themselves three or more times in the past six months or five or more times in their lifetimes. The mean age of both groups was 15 years and the participants were predominantly white. There were two boys in each group.
Each mother and child separately filled out behavioral questionnaires that examined the adolescent's mental health and self-injurious behaviors, and one that identified areas of conflict between parents and teenagers. To assess negativity in each parent-child relationship, the researchers selected a topic that both parties said was a serious issue. Crowell said that doing chores at home was the most common area of conflict. Then each mother and child were asked to discuss a specific problem topic for 10 minutes. The discussion was taped and the interaction was later coded. After the discussion small amounts of blood were drawn from the adolescents to assess their serotonin level.
"You would think that they would be civil to each other in this kind of situation, but many of these topics were hot and within five minutes some of our subjects were arguing with each other," Beauchaine said.
He said most of the teenage participants in the study were girls because self-inflicted injuries are far more common among girls. Mothers, rather than fathers, were chosen because research has shown that the relationship between girls and mothers is usually closer than it is between daughters and fathers.
Beauchaine believes finding the underlying causes of self-inflicted injuries and developing prevention programs should be a national priority because self-harming behavior can lead to suicide which is a leading cause of death among American adolescents and young adults.
"Once self-harming behavior starts it is difficult to stop. Over time, with something such as cutting, children's bodies react to it in a way that helps reduce biological and psychological pain. They essentially become addicted to this behavior. So you want to prevent this behavior before it starts," he said.
The National Institute of Mental Health, Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute and the National Foundation for Suicide Prevention funded the research. Co-authors of the study are Elizabeth McCauley, UW professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences; Christina Vasilev, former UW undergraduate student who is now a research study coordinator at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle; Adrianne Stevens, a UW psychology doctoral student; and Dr. Cindy Smith, formerly with Trillium Family Services.
Adapted from materials provided by University Of Washington.
Father daughter conflict, Islamics could be deadly combination.
Oh Lord, I have two mother-daughter conflicts going on right now. They tag team me I think.
So how do I order this seratonin and does it mix well in orange juice? hehe
They determined that they were stress induced and put me on anti-depression medicine to help with the effects, Lexapro is what I ended up on after trying other stuff that had very, um, interesting bedroom problems I couldn't live with.
I was on it for two years and I finally decided I had had enough of the chemicals and I stopped taking it cold turkey. Lets just say that I am finally around the bend with the mood swings and violent outbursts. Coming down off of any serotonin messing chemical is unbelievable if you have been on it for a while.
If the student killer at NIU who stopped taking his medication and then went on a shooting spree was on this stuff I really think they should start investigating what the side effects are for people who just stop like I did.
I literally would want to rip someone apart if they cut me off in traffic, just sit there and start to shake I was so enraged and normally things like that don't even phase me, I actually was getting scared of what I might do if I was put in the wrong circumstance while this was going on.
Normally I always weigh the consequences of my actions before I even think about doing whatever it is I am thinking of doing, but after I stopped this stuff I felt like the fricking Incredible Hulk for the slightest annoyance.
Very scary indeed, I can at least now understand why people who have gone through what I am could just flip out and play endgame over the smallest of things now.
Feed them lots of turkey. I’m not kidding. It is the L-trytophan that puts you to sleep at Thanksgiving.
That amino acid (after much magic in the body) will boost their seratonin levels.
Also add some niacin to their diets. A multivite will do. It makes it all work better.
I’m so glad you’re okay.
DISCLAIMER....NEVER take yourself off Psych meds!!!!
Always tell your doctor and let him handle weaning you off.
Holy Crap! Bad news!
This study could be flawed. It doesn’t say whether the moms were first timers, or have had multiple children..it’s obvious to me that if the topic became “hot” within 5 minutes, it’s MORE than just about chores.
Tnx for the info!
Never go cold turkey, they have to be tapered off every time. I’ve heard of some horror stories about psychosis on “severe” mental patients in a mental hospital who went cold turkey per doc orders and doc supervision. Some became suicidal. I think that’s the cruelest thing a so called doc could do to a mental patient. I had no idea that there are still barbaric things happening, but there are.
Its been many, MANY years since I did a paper in college, but I did one on brain chemistry and sleep deprivation and I think I remember that sunshine/vitamin D stimulated the hypothalamus to produce seratonin & (again, IIRC) norepinephrine. In other words, you think and feel better outside in the sun. Works better for me than a pharmaceutical. Don’t take what I just said as fact because I could be wrong in remembering the names of the brain chemicals.
I didn't think that I would have mood swings like I heard rumors of because I was normal, and these things made me more relaxed so I thought the worst that could happen is I would just drop back down to where I was before.
WRONG, I went so far the other way I can't even begin to think of what someone would go through who started out down there to begin with. They would be going through a literal hell on earth I imagine, mine was bad enough and I was (cough) normal!
The chaotic nature of modern families and society doesn't seem to get much attention.
This appears to be the title of the paper:
No, you are correct.
That is the reason why Seasonal Affective Disorder is very real and can be treated with the right kind of light bulbs. Full spectrum, pretty cheap and you feel great all winter.
Good for you that you made it through! And I’ll bet you didn’t even connect coming off the med with the aggression at first. No one does.
They never mention eating disorders etc which also are impacted by low serotonin levels as are all the other addictions--as they cause a high that makes users feel normal and that includes shopping and gambling (the only addiction I have no familiarity with on a personal basis--lol.) I go for the natural increase of serotonin in our daily lives and settle for what God has given me otherwise.
Living in Idaho in the winter makes it harder, but I definitely know I need to find some vit D/sun/fresh air when I start to sink into the mid-winter doldrums. Exercise helps too (’cept I’m shackeled to my computer :).
IIRC from one of your earlier posts, the girls in question are pre-teens, but that can be stressful anyway and will only get worse when they’re teenagers. Whose side does Dad take? Maybe you need more support from him.
If he’s not available, I think you need more support from somebody, somewhere. One of the problems with modern parenting is that the society as a whole is not supportive of decent standards and good behavior.
So perhaps if you could find some kind of parents’ group, say in your church, or even consider sending the girls to a private or parochial school where they will get a bit more encouragement to respect you, it might help. I know it will cost money, but if there’s any way you can do it, it might help.
Just because she has her demons I am not going to let her enhance the power of mine.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.