Mood Neurotransmitters

A place to collect all those little tidbits about the various mood neurotransmitters, and which ones do what.  Very VERY much a work in progress!  Sources linked at the bottom 


not summarized yet:

Norepinephrine and dopamine and concentration/focus




  • inhibitory neurotransmitter

  • regulates many other processes such as carbohydrate cravings, sleep cycle, pain control and appropriate digestion.

  • decreased immune system function

  • mood to anxiety to sleep to sexual response to food craving and (in)digestion

  • happiness, satisfaction and relaxation

  • Low serotonin levels may lead to depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and panic disorders.

  • regulates dopamine release (high serotonin-low dopamine)

  • low mood, compulsions, anxiousness, and headaches.


  • both excitatory and inhibitory

  • main focus neurotransmitter. When dopamine is either elevated or low – we can have focus issues such as not remembering where we put our keys, forgetting what a paragraph said when we just finished reading it or simply daydreaming and not being able to stay on task.

  • motivation

  • pleasure as well as delusions, psychosis, and drug abuse

  • Dopamine in the caudate nucleus facilitates posture, whereas dopamine in the nucleus accumbens is associated with an animal’s speed (and pleasure).

  • blink rate

  • motivates to desire pleasurable activities like eating, kissing, novel experiences, movement control, memory, problem solving, attention

  • love, pleasure, drive

  • helps control movement, emotions, and the ability to focus attention on a task

  • A relative deficit in dopamine maturity would be concordant with an increased impulsivity and increased reward threshold seen in ADHD

  • pleasure/reward pathway (addiction and thrills), memory, and motor control

  • low dopamine levels are loss of motor control, addictions, cravings, compulsions, and loss of satisfaction

  • stride length and posture



  • Valium-like

  • regulate excitability and anxiety, panic, and stress

  • Depressed individuals have decreased GABA in their cerebral spinal fluid and plasma

  • GABA levels rise when the citric acid cycle activity is low (ie, when cell energy usage is low)

  • helps regulate relaxation and sleep

  • thought to have a role in bipolar disorder

  • prevent overstimulation


  • One of the damaging effects of mercury poisoning is swelling of astrocytes, which are rendered unable to soak-up glutamine from synapses (contributing to excitotoxicity).



  • Direct innervation of skeletal muscles is due to acetylcholine, as is the innervation of smooth muscles of the parasympathetic nervous system.
  • learning, memory, dreaming


  • can cause ANXIETY at elevated excretion levels as well as some “MOOD DAMPENING” effects. Low levels of norepinephrine are associated with LOW ENERGY, DECREASED FOCUS ability and sleep cycle problems.
  • believed to play a role in cognition, mood, emotions, movement, and blood pressure. Difficulty concentrating, fatigue, apathy, and depression are some of the things that can result from norepinephrine going AWOL.
  • focus, drive

  • normally involved in vigilance and wakefulness; however, high levels of norepinephrine can reduce the rate of information processing and reduce attentiveness

  • enhance memory formation

  • modulates neuron voltage potentials to favor glutamate activity and neurotransmitter firing (also talks about norepinephrine biosynthesis)




The primary neurotransmitters involved in stress, anxiety, depression and aggression include:

  •  Stress – dopamine, nor-adrenaline, serotonin and acetylcholine
  •  Anxiety – serotonin, GABA, opiods
  •  Depression – serotonin, opiods and dopamine
  •  Aggression – serotonin, GABA.

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