Neurotransmitters are substances produced in the brain and elsewhere that substantially affect mood. Examples include serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and GABA. Most medications used to treat anxiety and depression alter neurotransmitter levels in one way or another. Most anti-depressants, for example, increase the levels of serotonin. Most medications for anxiety increase GABA levels or activity. While most doctors treat most people with anxiety the same, not all people with anxiety have the same neurotransmitter imbalances. Some people have low levels of the calming neurotransmitter GABA, others may have high levels of the excitatory neurotransmitter norepinephrine.
Fortunately testing is now available to test neurotransmitter levels in the urine, allowing treatment to be tailored to the individual. Once a person’s specific imbalances are known, there are a variety of natural substances such as amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and herbal medicines that can be used to increase or decrease specific neurotransmitters to return the person to balance.