Serotonin Syndrome: Overview and Symptoms

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Serotonin Syndrome: Overview and Symptoms

Author: Emily Aranda

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that effects mood, appetite, and sleep. Particularly, an imbalance of serotonin in the brain is linked to anxiety and depression. Serotonin Syndrome occurs when a person takes medication that increases his or her levels of serotonin. This can be due to increasing a single medication’s dose, adding a new drug to a daily regimen, or a combination of the two. Serotonin Syndrome can manifest itself through several different physical symptoms, though all symptoms do not need to be present in order to be diagnosed with Serotonin Syndrome.

Drugs that increase serotonin in a person’s system include the following:

  • SSRIs
  • SNRIs
  • pain medications
  • anti-migraine medications
  • MAOIs
  • anti-nausea medication
  • illegal drugs
  • lithium
  • Bupropion
  • tricyclic antidepressants
  • over the counter cough and cold medications
  • linezolid
  • ritonavir

Symptoms include:

  • agitation / restlessness
  • high blood pressure
  • rapid heart rate or irregular heart rate
  • shivering
  • headache
  • heavy sweating
  • muscle rigidity
  • loss of muscle coordination or twitching muscles
  • confusion
  • dilated pupils
  • high fever
  • seizures
  • unconsciousness

Serotonin Syndrome is an indication that a person’s medication should be adjusted properly. If you or someone you know is having issues with Serotonin Syndrome, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit



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