A mood is defined as an emotional state that may last anywhere from a few minutes to several weeks. Our moods are determined by the way that we respond to external stimuli, and our responses are shaped by the chemicals inside of our brain. The brain is a complex information-processing network that uses chemicals to transmit signals throughout the brain. Neurons are chemicals that send signals to neurotransmitters, which send and receive signals. These chemicals help the brain form messages about how to respond to something.
There are three most common neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that produces good feelings and pleasure – it serves as our reward system. When something happens that we enjoy, our brains typically produce a sufficient amount of dopamine. Serotonin is associated with memory and learning – some scientists believe that is plays a part of regeneration of brain cells, which may be known to relieve symptoms of depression. Norepinephrine assists with moderating our mood, and helps us relieve our stress and anxiety.
Our brain works hard to ensure that our responses align with a “fight or flight mode” for best survival chances. For example, when we see an angry dog, our brain’s chemicals try to protect us by sending out danger signals. Likewise, when we see someone attractive, our brain may signal pleasure.
If someone’s brain does not produce enough of one of those neurotransmitters, their mood is likely to shift. For instance, if someone’s dopamine levels are low, what would typically make them very happy may cause them to not feel happy at all – in fact, that person may feel a little sad.
If you feel that your moods are more depressive, seeing a doctor would be the best step to take. Some people suffer from chemical imbalances as mentioned above, and there are medications that can be prescribed to help balance our moods. Residential treatment programs are available for depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
Avalon Malibu, a certified California residential treatment program for primary mental health, offers a trusted program with trusted results. As part of the New Vista Behavioral Health family, Avalon is held to higher standards, providing exceptional care with better outcomes. Call us today for information on the New Vista family and find the right treatment program for you: 866-855-4202