These tests should be considered once all of the first tier testing has been completed but there are still some obstacles to recovery.
Many times investigation into the specifics of neurotransmitter function can be invaluable in the treatment process, especially when dealing with co morbid issues like anxiety, depression, OCD, panic disorders and ADD/ADHD. New revelations in epigenetics and laboratory testing now allows clinicians to pinpoint the neurotransmitter (seretonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, acetylcholine or dopamine) imbalances in the brain.
For instance, if a child is suffering from high dopamine levels one would expect to see the following symptoms:
While in contrast, those suffering from low dopamine levels, would be dealing with the following:
Now, with the help of doctor's data and the neurobiogenic amines test the complex web of neurotransmitter metabolism and its effects on brain function are no longer a mystery. Urinary levels of neurotransmitter metabolites can be measured and used as a functional test for 2 important enzymes (COMT and MAO). Many environmental stressers can affect the function of these enzymes. For example, a lack of nutritional co factors (vitamin, minerals) required for normal enzyme function may decrease COMT/MAO function and hence skew neurotransmitter balance in the brain. In addition, dietary indiscretions like high sodium intake, environmental toxins, infections and tobacco use can also negatively impact neurotransmitter enzyme activity.
Zinc deficiency is far too common today, especially in our children. This may be due to a poor diet, a genetic disorder called pyroluria (25% of kids with ADHD have this) or just plain malabsorption. Low zinc levels have been linked to behavioral disorders such as ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder and aggression in children/teens. Before putting your child on Ritalin or a stimulant drug with countless side effects, just do a simple blood test to determine your child's zinc levels. Along with this you should test copper levels. Elevated copper is related to lower levels of dopamine and higher levels of nor-epinephrine (the stress hormone). These fluctuations in neurotransmitters lead to cognitive/behavioral issues and learning disorders.