I wrote here on neurotransmitter imbalance and the (mostly urinary) evidence that these imbalances are, in fact, linked to various kinds of mental/emotional disorders. That still leaves some unanswered questions, though—specifically, what is the mechanism by which the neurotransmitters get disrupted in the first place?
Here’s one surprising answer.
Toxins and Mood Changes
Several patients have described mood disruption such as anxiety and depression, even hallucinations, in response to chemical exposures. This caused me to start digging into the literature on this subject.
It turns out that quite a few environmental and occupational chemicals have been shown to trigger such effects, too many to enumerate: this chart shows that 26 chemicals are associated with delirium and hallucinations, 119 with sleep disturbances, 58 with excitability, 40 with depression, and the list goes on!
Toxins and Neurotransmitter Disruption
These are all symptoms. But according to this study, this may occur because certain chemicals and heavy metals can directly impair the serotonergic (serotonin-producing and using) and dopaminergic (dopamine producing and using) systems. Some can also alter glutamate levels, another major neurotransmitter.
Many of these same chemicals are also associated with excitotoxicity in the brain, leading to other types of neurological dysfunction, not just mood changes. But it stands to reason that damage to the nervous system can manifest in a variety of ways.
Anyone with this level of sensitivity to chemicals will almost certainly also fall into the multiple chemical sensitivity category, which means manual detoxification and cleansing as well as genetic testing and support for the detoxification mechanisms is appropriate.
But it’s also helpful to be aware that sometimes, mental and emotional symptoms might have a toxic root cause!