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Spring Fever, Serotonin, Suicides, and School Shootings
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* Spring Fever, Serotonin, Suicides and School Shootings- This is a letter that I sent to my "Friends of DogtorJ" after I made a post on a medical Website. The author of this blog was discussing the "merry month of May" and the poorly understood phenomenon of increased suicides during that spring month. It is a lot more understandable than one would think at first glance.

Spring Fever, Serotonin, Suicides and School Shootings
 
Dear Friends,
 
I know that I am developing a reputation for being someone who can be a real downer. I'm sorry for that but this is certainly not my intent. This article is an example. The title, when read by some of you, was probably followed by a groan. But, this piece is meant to be one of encouragement because there is HOPE for those who are in the throws of depression or, even worse, overwhelming anxiety.  
 
I posted the following on this Website today ( http://health.yahoo.com/depression-2006/depression/3494/the-merry-month-of-may?cin=0#comments ). I had to after reading the writer's comment that the month of May was a troubled month (high suicide rate) but researchers really didn't understand why. Of course, two of the three worst campus shootings in US history occurred 4 days apart on the calendar in April, with tomorrow being the anniversary of Columbine. Coincidence? Perhaps but people do some very bad things in April and May, including committing suicide. It is not a coincidence that this "season" starts with April Fool's Day and we refer to some behavior this time of year as "spring fever". 
 
Unfortunately, I have had personal experience with what I posted on this site. As I state in the post, celiacs have serious problems with depression and low brain serotonin is one of contributing the factors. But something "interesting" can happen to the SAD (seasonal affected disorder) victim when Spring hits. I went home for lunch one sunny April afternoon and started shaking. Then the fleeting thoughts hit. Some would call it a severe anxiety attack. Others a nervous breakdown. The doctors called it "acute endogenous depression with mania". I didn't know then what I know now. This was classic for the celiac/gluten intolerant (or one suffering from severe food intolerance) and that the time of year as also typical.
 
So, as upsetting as this topic is, especially in light of the incredible tragedy at Virginia Tech this week, this Email is meant to give us some hope. Mental illness does not occur simply because we did not receive enough love as children. Certainly, life's tragedies can severely compound the effects of the true underlying causes of depression, bipolar disease, schizophrenia, ADHD, OCD, and more. BUT, we now know that this list of maladies is rooted in physical illness. Freud was wrong.  And, ALL of these conditions have been linked to celiac disease and the related food intolerances.
 
This is good news! These things can be helped and in ways other than the purely pharmaceutical route. Thank Goodness! Take a look at the history of school shootings before this week's and see how many of those individuals who carried out these horrendous acts were on multiple, prescribed drugs (e.g. SSRI's). How many of these acts could have been prevented if their support groups (parents, teachers, doctors) knew about the psychiatric effects of food intolerance?
 
I am a living, breathing (by the Grace of God) example of what the diet change can do. This is one of the principle motivating forces behind what I do on the Internet. I have looked into the abyss. It is terrifying and I do not want anyone to ever have to experience that....ever. Depression and anxiety can be helped. Once we understand this, perhaps we can prevent some of the tragedies like those we have witnessed in our schools.
 
I hope this helps,
John
 
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Posted on Yahoo Health 4-19-07- The Merry Month of May?
 
Why do suicides in our hemisphere occur most commonly during May? So far there hasn't been a good explanation. However, the predictability of the May peak suggests a biological influence.
 
I wrote: 
 
 
April and May are the peaks for suicide and for very good reason. It has greatly to do with the seasonal fluctuations in brain serotonin levels.
 
During the winter months, brain serotonin levels drop due to the lack of sunlight. As most know, this can cause severe depression in some (SAD- seasonal affected disorder) as serotonin is a very important mood moderator. However, it also helps to protect neurons from over-stimulation by the neurotransmitters (e.g. glutamate) and neuroactive amino acids such as glutamic acid (e.g. MSG) and aspartic acid (e.g. Nutrisweet).
 
In Spring, the days become longer and brighter. Light is very stimulating, examples of which being aggression in the animal world as Spring occurs and seizures occurring in epileptic children while watching bright, moving graphics on computers and TV. So, April and May are transition months, when the days get longer and brighter after 6 months of low brain serotonin. In people with food intolerance (e.g. celiac disease), the normal rise in serotonin to match the increasing daylight is impeded by their condition. They are malabsorbing the nutrients (e.g. B complex) needed to make more serotonin. Celiacs/gluten intolerants (such as myself) when uncontrolled are notoriously low in serotonin, depressed, and have REAL difficulty in spring, when the depression turns to ANXIETY. 
 
And I can speak from personal experience- depression is one thing but anxiety is a whole 'nother ballgame. Depression keeps you in bed. Anxiety makes you want to put the gun to your head.
 
So, this phenomenon is completely understandable. In April/May, the anxiety takes over as the light of Spring over-stimulates the brain in the face of low serotonin and the worst of the worst can't handle it. If it were not for my faith in God, I would not be here writing this post. But now that I am a recovered celiac, I am totally normal and do medical literature research and consultations on this topic.
 
I hope this helps.
 
John B. Symes, DVM (aka "DogtorJ")    
 
John B. Symes, D.V.M. ("Dogtor J")
www.dogtorj.net
Read- "Food Intolerance- Man and Animals versus Gluten, Casein, Soy, and Corn OR How We Won the Battle of Helm's Deep"

I hope you enjoyed your time here and got something important from your stay. It is my goal to help all of mankind navigate through the jungle of medical information now available on the Internet and find the truth about the origins of what we call "disease" as well as discover the natural solutions for these conditions.
 
We do have our health's destiny in our own hands more than we've ever imagined, certainly more than most have ever been told. Think naturally and the answer will come.
 
Dogtor J
 
Click here to go back to the Site Map to read more related articles on Dogtorj.com.
 
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Become a member of the Friends of DogtorJ Email Club !

You can now go to the new site!
 
The New DogtorJ.com is done! Yes, the time has finally come for this homemade Website to go the way of the buffalo. I know that you all join me in looking forward to using a site that is better organized and more accessible....prettier, too! I've even corrected most of those annoying typos (I hope).

Feel free to check it out now at www.dogtorj.com. I am still working hard to populate all of the pages so don't worry if a link does not work. They should all be active in the near future. In the meantime, this current site will remain on-line until I get all of the bugs worked out.

Let me know what you think! It's not too late to make some changes.
Dogtor J

 
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would still like to hear from you personally, though.
 
I used to have a nice little form in this space that would allow readers to send me a quick comment or testimonial. Unfortunately, as the Interent goes, I started getting 50-100 junk emails through this form and had to remove it. 
 
So, until the new Website is up and running (soon!), I will have to ask people to formulate an Email of their own and send it. I do want to hear from you so I would really appreciate it if you could take the time to do this.
 
Simply title your Email "Visitor Comment" and include your name, occupationcomment/testimonial and return Email address (if you want to be contacted) and send it to:
 
dogtorj @ dogtorj.com (Just remove the spaces on each side of the @ sign) 
 
Please do not use this form to ask medical questions. See the Contact section for instructions for sending DogtorJ an Email inquiry concerning a medical condition. 
 
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Great News!
 
DogtorJ.com will be getting a major facelift in the very near future. Yes, the time has finally come for this homemade Website to be taken over by someone who actually knows what they are doing. I know that you all join me in looking forward to having the site better organized and more accessible. It'll be prettier, too!
 
This is taking place for a number of reasons, the most of important of which will be revealed in the upcoming months. Yes, the book is finally in the works but there will be a major awareness project to go along with it.
 
So, please stay tuned. Anyone who would like to get on my mailing list can do so by simply using the visitor's comment area (like the one above) found at the bottom of each page.
 
Onward and upward!
 
Dogtor J