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.
I did notice within approx. 4 days because I was screaming at my kids for the smallest of things, and I just stopped and thought, "What the hell is wrong with me? They are just being kids for cripes sake!" That's when I put two and two together and started to become very aware of my anger and mood swings.
I use medicinal Scotch to help with seasonal depression.
If I knew then what I know now I would have recommended to the Dr. a more beneficial use of that stuff and it would have been in suppository form too!
>>it would have been in suppository form too!<<
Try adding one of these in the light by your computer. Like all day....
They are cheap and they do work.
I would turn into a bear by this time of year. I bought a two hundred dollar light box that worked great (then my boss put his foot through it by mistake!)
I found these, they were cheap and worked just as well.
>>They never mention eating disorders etc <<
That’s how I started to do my research.
When my hair started falling out, etc. but I felt GREAT.
If your hair starts falling out be sure to check your calcium levels and thyroid. And vitamin D is needed to help absorb/use the calcium.
Chocolate! Feed them chocolate!!
That wasn’t my problem. I was taking ballet in college and stopped all nutrition except SlimFast once a day. For about six months.
Blam, both you and I read history, there was a reason that they Married off Daughters at 14.
And sleep is very important.
Remove all caffienated beverages from the house, don't allow her to drink caf. bev. away from home, particularly after noon, don't allow her to be on the computer or telephone late at night, get her some regular strenuous aerobic exercise, make sure she has room-darkening shades, etc.
Both of you will sleep much better.
Lots of money being made on this stuff and it is being given out too easily IMHO. Severe cases yes, a one time prescription with a single 4 week follow up in 2 years like me, no. Now that I know the downside to it first hand I will be glad if someone pushes for a honest and neutral investigation into the side effects and abuses of the stuff.
People don’t understand about these meds. And when the companies themselves are making up disorders (social anxiety disorder for example) to have treated with Paxil, we are in big trouble.
Not a good idea to screw with brain chemicals, I will tell you.
But some pharmaceutical companies have pushed the use of SSRIs for a broad spectrum that should not be treated with meds.
Shining example here of that. They also put me on Ritalin in combination with the first drugs they tried me on, some adults find it has the same effects as it does for hyper kids, but it was the opposite for me. Great diet pills, had plenty of get-up-and-go during the day but I told them I couldn't sleep when I took them.
Besides, I didn't want anything that had a higher street value than my truck when I was getting my 3 month supply from my insurance's on line pharmacy mailed to me and sitting in my mailbox.
All I can say is for about six or seven weeks it has been VERY interesting to me. I may not understand all the Latin and medical jargon but I sure as hell know what I am feeling! (And no, I am not a DUmmie in disguise either lol!)
If you think you're still having withdrawal symptoms that bother you, you may want to ask your doc to use Prozac, its generic name is fluoxetine, to relieve the symptoms, and then start a tapering schedule to get weaned off it. Fluoxetine has the longest halflife of all the SSRIs, i.e. it takes longer for your body to eliminate it, so it's the preferred SSRI for weaning.
My nephew stopped cold turkey and started suffering with terrible stomach problems. He couldn’t keep any food down. He lost a ton of weight before he found a psychologist who had suffered the same thing. He had been on ritalin since he was a little kid, then when he was in high school the doctors added zoloft because they said that he was very stressed. When he graduated from college, he decided, no more and just stopped.
” I use medicinal Scotch to help with seasonal depression.”
Me, too. I’ve noticed it works all four seasons!
I completely and totally agree--a very severe case of severe depression or even just more pointed short term use under very closely supervised etc conditions is appropriate, yet overblown and completely ill exercised is what has happened and what is reality. I am so very happy to hear you are finding your own place in all of this.
I do want to add another positive brain addition and that is daily meditation or even mediation through out the day has helped me. Studies have shown a positive effect to the brain similar to orgasm from sex. Sorry to be so explicit, but I gather that is a darn good thing for all those chemicals swirling around up there :-).
By the way I do all of this (the natural positive things I mentioned in a previous email) utterly and completely imperfectly and hope I do not sound like some self righteous, highly disciplined person as I am not and in fact I think allowing myself to be imperfect at all of this has really helped me not beat up on myself and berate myself as if it (feeling down or even depressed) is all my fault like I am not doing things right (which is a possible beating up stick when one has chosen to use natural methods and behavioral techniques to increase brain/mental/emotional/spiritual health. At least I have found this for myself.)
Someone mentioned the internet time too and not exercising as much--man do I hear that!! That has been my new nemesis. yet when we all connect if feels so good :-).
Love your tag line by the way!! Made me laugh.
As I understand it, when you go off a psychotropic drug, you're supposed to go off it gradually. As a hypothetical example, if you're taking 80 mg/day of Paxil, you can go down to 60, then 40, then 20, then 0. I'm not sure what time intervals or step sizes are best.
The protein in the turkey counteracts the LTrytophan. But you can get it in pill form in some health food stores. Three caplets before bedtime (with juice or water not milk) is the best way to do it.
Thanks so much for your honesty. I love how you summarized it all initially—hair falling out but you felt GREAT!! Man do I hear that. Good for you for getting on a different path!! 6 months one Slim Fast a day and exercising. Wow. So blessed to be healthy and alive today :-) and posting your experience, strength, and hope with us all.
My father was bipolar back in the late sixties and early seventies when all of this was just coming into play--the use of chemicals in the psych industry. He was a guinea pig at every turn and this really turned me away from the use of chemical therapy watching and living with all of this from the ripe age of zero. However he attended weekly or regular sessions with a psychiatrist through out his life to regulate his medications/emotional/mental state as well as was hospitalized whenever his medication needed to be shifted. It is a bit different the use of just straight SSRIs versus the other meds for bipolar, yet it is all the same in the chemical craziness and seriousness of their use.
Seems the industry does not take them as seriously as they used to. As was mentioned now they are like candy.
What a great boss to work for.
I can relate to what he is going through, tell him to talk to his Dr, he can ween him off rather than go through what I have/am.
I think that he found a doctor that had actually gone through the same thing, himself. He changed the anti-depressant and then weaned him off of it. He just couldn’t go through his whole life on psychotropic drugs.
Yes, it’s the same two girls.
I have come to realize through my aunt that this is the typical mother-daughter rebellion. Their Dad is firmer than me, but doesn’t understand the subtle smartaleck stuff they do and say. I, however, remember quite well how I acted and know their game. Maybe that’s it. I gave my mother such a hard time, that age old ‘I hope you have two just like you’ came true, ha!
Seriously, I was watching an episode of Roseanne the other night and recognized the SAME type stuff and remembered watching that show and recalling my own 12 year old stuff. Wow, it really does happen and I can get through this. I have done one practice that is REALLY helping. Repeat. Anytime one of them say something ugly or smartalecky as they are want to do, to me or each other or someone else, I make them repeat it. It was taking two or three times, but now it’s once and even becoming a habit to say it ‘right’ the first time. I hope this works.
Oh dear God, you hate me don’t you. Chocolate. Ha! I might as well throw in four or five cups of coffee and a Red Bull or two.