The main difference between serotonin and dopamine is that serotonin or the happiness molecule is important for calmness and emotional well-being whereas dopamine or the motivation molecule is important for attention, motivation, and goal-directed behavior.
Serotonin and dopamine are two neurotransmitters found in the brain which are related to mood and happiness. Furthermore, the role of serotonin on movement is not clear while dopamine is responsible for normal movement including walking and balance.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Serotonin
– Definition, Synthesis, Importance
2. What is Dopamine
– Definition, Synthesis, Importance
3. What are the Similarities Between Serotonin and Dopamine
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Serotonin and Dopamine
– Comparison of Key Differences
Dopamine, Excitatory, Inhibitory, Neurotransmitters, Parkinson Disease, Serotonin
What is Serotonin
Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter responsible for stabilizing the mood. Also, it occurs in the digestive system as it is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid not synthesized in the body and comes through the diet. However, serotonin is not a mood booster, but a mood stabilizer. As it prevents fluctuations in happiness, its deficiency is always associated with depression.
Other primary roles of serotonin include sleep and digestion. It promotes wakefulness in the morning as it plays a key role in sleep-wake cycles. However, the deficiency of serotonin leads to insomnia, a condition of sleeplessness. Furthermore, as serotonin occurs in the digestive system in the stomach and intestines, it helps to regulate bowel movement. On the other hand, serotonin in platelets in the blood facilitates wound-healing by promoting blood clotting upon injury.
What is Dopamine
Dopamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter responsible for reward-motivated behavior. It is synthesized from the amino acid tyrosine. Unlike serotonin, dopamine plays a critical role in controlling the movement and balance. The low levels of dopamine lead to the lack of fluid movements as seen in the Parkinson disease. People with this disease become stiff and frozen in their bodies. Levodopa is the medication that helps to treat Parkinson disease.
Moreover, other diseases caused by dopamine dysfunction include attention disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, etc. Also, the lack of motivation, general apathy, and hopelessness are the main symptoms of low levels of dopamine. However, high levels of dopamine are responsible for competitiveness, impulsiveness, aggressive behavior, and provision to all kinds of addictions.
Similarities Between Serotonin and Dopamine
- Serotonin and dopamine are two neurotransmitters in the brain.
- They serve as chemical messengers between brain cells.
- Moreover, they are responsible for mood and happiness.
- They are important in controlling the movement, impulses, and mood.
- Also, they implicate in many psychological disorders.
Difference Between Serotonin and Dopamine
Serotonin refers to a compound present in blood platelets and serum, which constricts the blood vessels and acts as a neurotransmitter involved in sleep, depression, memory, and other neurological processes. Dopamine, in contrast, refers to an organic chemical of the catecholamine and phenethylamine families, functioning both as a hormone and a neurotransmitter, and plays several important roles in the brain and body. Thus, this is the main difference between serotonin and dopamine.
Also Known as
While Serotonin is also known as the happiness molecule, dopamine is also known as the motivation molecule.
Their synthesis is also a difference between serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan in a process known as decarboxylation while dopamine is synthesized from the amino acid tyrosine in a process known as hydroxylation.
Type of Neurotransmitter
Also, another important difference between serotonin and dopamine is that Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter while dopamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter.
Effective Areas in the Brain
Moreover, serotonin is effective in the raphe nucleus and central section of the brain while dopamine is effective in the hypothalamus, substantia nigra and midbrain sections.
One other difference between serotonin and dopamine is that Serotonin is responsible for stabilizing the mood while dopamine is responsible for signaling rewards.
Non-Mood Related Functions
Furthermore, Serotonin contributes to sleep and digestion while dopamine is important for normal movement and balance.
Low levels of serotonin lead to high sensitivity to pain, aggressiveness, and insomnia while low levels of dopamine lead to memory loss, low sex drive, poor digestion, and poor cognition.
Deficiency of serotonin is linked with anxiety and depression disorders while deficiency of dopamine is linked with Parkinson disease. Hence, this is also a difference between serotonin and dopamine.
Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter present in the brain responsible for stabilizing the mood. Moreover, it contributes to sleep and digestion. On the other hand, dopamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter present in the brain responsible for normal movement and balance. It also brings feelings of pleasure and provides a happiness boost based on a certain action. Deficiency of both serotonin and dopamine leads to different psychological disorders. However, the main difference between serotonin and dopamine is their role in the body.
1. Alban, D. “Serotonin vs Dopamine and Their Roles in Depression.” Be Brain Fit, 23 Apr. 2019, Available Here.