Men are more impulsive and women are more depressed when their serotonin levels are down, according to a new study.
Researchers, using a new technique called acute tryptophan depletion, which decreases serotonin levels in the brain, found that men became more impulsive, but did not experience mood changes in response to the chemical changes while the female volunteers reported moodiness and depression.
One of the study’s authors, Dr. Espen Walderhaug, and colleagues said that reduced serotonin levels contribute to the pathophysiology, or functional changes, associated with major depressive disorder (MDD), and many of the antidepressants on the market today block the serotonin uptake site, commonly known as the transporter, in the brain. People with MDD are also found to have impaired impulse control.
The study, according to Dr. Walderhaug, “might be relevant in understanding why women show a higher prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders compared to men, while men show a higher prevalence of alcoholism, ADHD and impulse control disorders.”
The researchers are also hoping the results in this study can also be used to better understand some sex-related effects of reduced serotonin.