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Side Effects Caused by Metabolic Pathways Differences



Ruy Miranda
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If you are currently taking some kind of medication for Social Anxiety Disorder / Social Phobia or if you are giving serious thought to taking such medication or if you are looking for information about the side effects caused by these medications, then here you will find something that will surely meet your needs. More specifically, I'm going to deal with the individual characteristics that could possibly contribute to any one of these medications producing undesirable effects.



Differences in individual metabolism can be the cause of serious side effects from the medications used in the treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder / Social Phobia. The reasons for this are found in the imperfection of the general biological system. If this system were perfect, the reactions would be identical in all living organisms. For example, if a medication is known to relieve headaches, it should have the same effect in all organisms. However, we know only too well that this is not always the case. There are differences in biological systems and, principally, differences in the metabolic subsets, also known as metabolic pathways. Now, I'm going to explain what all of this means, and then I'll describe how these pathways can be the cause of side effects.


Metabolism and Metabolic Pathways


Various processes essential to life are bound together in an integrated network of chemical reactions, known collectively as metabolism. Let's make a comparison between what happens with you now and your access to the Internet. In order for this text and its associated images to appear on your computer screen right now, a number of integrated processes are necessary. First, the text needs to be written and/or designed according to certain criteria, then it needs to pass through a sequence of processes that lead to a device known as a server. Inside the server, predetermined sequences take place so that the document is filed and available. When you accessed the Internet, other procedures were executed, and to access my server and receive this document, another set of processes was followed. Yet another sequence occurred so that my server would release the content to you and, finally, other processes so that the document would appear on your screen. All of this needs to function correctly and in an integrated manner for the text and its images to reach you in the way that I had conceived and executed them. It works the same way in organisms, be they vegetable or animal: many chemical and physical processes work in a coordinated and integrated manner, transforming molecules and producing energy to sustain life. For this reason, they are called biochemical processes. The total series of transformations (chemical reactions) is known as metabolism, and the parts of the series, much like the parts of the processes you needed to access this document through the Internet, are called metabolic pathways.

To give you a better idea, consider that in a single cell more than one thousand integrated chemical reactions take place. Now, imagine the integration of trillions of cells that make up an organism! Complicated, isn't it? However, there are some interesting short cuts: the sequences of reactions are repeated in various parts of the organism. In other words, the number of reactions in metabolism is very large but, owing to repetition, the number of reaction types is relatively small.

For example, we know that a group of close to one hundred molecules plays a central role in all forms of life. Among these molecules is adenosine triphosphate, known as ATP. Now, ATP is a type of universal currency for energy and as one of its characteristics, it has to be rich in energy and quickly release the energy it carries. By reading this text, your organism used energy that was released through ATP. Following this release, it is transformed into adenosine diphosphate, ADP. The ADP then adds a phosphate ion and changes back to ATP and, once again, energy is available. This is, I repeat, a quick way for your organism to release the energy you are using to read this text. Within each one of your cells involved in this process, the transformation of ATP to ADP and ADP to ATP is taking place each and every minute.

However, to change ATP to ADP and vice versa, not to mention the thousands of other reactions, the cell needs intermediary molecules known as enzymes. We say that enzymes are catalyzers because they facilitate or make the reactions possible.

Every substance that enters the organism is submitted to a sequence of reactions according to its chemical and physical characteristics. These reactions are grouped together in sets and subsets of reagents. The role of each set or subset, also called metabolic pathways, and of metabolism as a whole, is to maintain life. Among the organism's reagents that compose each set or subset, we find enzymes.

In the case of medications used in the treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder / Social Phobia, we now introduce metabolic pathways in which enzymes known by the generic name of Cytochrome-P450 participate. More specifically, they are known as pathways in the Cytochrome P-450 system. Other medications are also metabolized in this system. On the other hand, it can be observed that there are differences in these enzymes from one organism to another. This means that there are differences in metabolism from one organism to another. This is the key to the appearance of many health problems as well as for the cure of many maladies.


Differences in Metabolism


Differences in the number of enzymes found in the metabolic pathways are responsible for the fact that a given medication, whatever it may be, does not produce the expected effect in some people and/or produces side effects. In the case of medications used in Social Anxiety Disorder / Social Phobias, and of others, we can anticipate four scenarios:

-- The metabolic process takes place within the expected, predicted time. This means, for example, that a "normal" quantity of enzymes involved in the metabolizing of the medication is present. It can then be expected that the medication will produce the desired benefits in the individual with few or no side effects.

-- The metabolic process is very fast. This means that the number of enzymes involved in the metabolizing of the medication is above "normal" and, therefore, the medication is metabolized quickly without producing the desired effect in the individual or, for that matter, any side effects.

-- The metabolic process is slower than "normal." This can cause the specific medication and/or its by-products (intermediate products in the metabolic process) to accumulate in the organism, delaying the time of action and producing undesirable side effects.

-- The metabolic process does not take place at a certain stage of the process, which leads the medication or some of its by-products to accumulate in the organism, reaching toxic levels, damaging organs or systems, and even causing death over the long, medium, or short term.

All medications that pass through the same metabolic sets can produce these response patterns. Fortunately, nowadays, it is becoming possible to anticipate what will happen to the organism if a person takes certain kinds of medications, including those used in the treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder / Social Phobia, through appropriate blood examinations. We will take a closer look at this subject in other article, which will also include a discussion of genetic factors that increase or decrease the number of enzymes in these metabolic pathways.




March, 2005


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social anxiety disorder, social phobia, shyness

This web site, the Social Anxiety Disorder and Shyness Directory and these articles contained on this web site are not solicitations, are not medical advice and are not intended as medical advice. This web site, the Social Anxiety Disorder and Shyness Directory and these articles are intended to provide only general, non-specific medical information and are not intended to cover all the issues related to the topics discussed. This web site, the Social Anxiety Disorder and Shyness Directory and these articles do not create any physician-client relationship between Ruy Miranda and you, and they do not replace the eventual relationship between you and your physician, psychologist, or other healthcare professional. This article’s author recommends no particular medication and does not represent the interests of any person, company or pharmaceutical laboratory.


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You may want to read other articles on Social Anxiety Disorder / Social Phobia and Shyness:

Basic Articles:

Self-Concept/Self- Actualization – Shyness Nucleus

Self-concept, Body Image, Self-depreciation and Shyness

Shyness and Social Anxiety Disorder: Neurophysiological Approach

Shyness Articles:

What Is Shyness? Fear, Anxiety, Anguish?

Questions and Answers on Shyness

Humiliation Stories, School Spankings: Examples of Shyness Causes

Social Anxiety Disorder Articles:

Social Anxiety Disorder: What It Is, The Anxiety Attack Symptoms

Social Anxiety Attacks: Incidence, Onset, History, Evolution

Social Phobia / Anxiety Disorder: Treatment

Social Phobia / Anxiety Disorder: Differential Diagnosis

Avoidant Personality Disorder

Medications in Social Phobia: Side Effects - Part 1

Antidepressants Tricyclics: Side Effects - Part 2

Metabolic Pathways Individual Differences and Medications Side Effects - Part 3

Genetic Changes: Medications Side Effects - Part 4

First Line Antidepressants - Side Effects - Part 5

Social Anxiety and Shyness Articles:

Panic Disorder, Shyness, Social Phobia - Differences

Why Self-Help in Shyness and Social Anxiety Disorder / Social Phobia Doesn’t Help You

Shyness and Social Anxiety Disorder:Medication Action

Facial Blushing, Redness of the Face, Ears and Neck

Psychoses, Shyness and Social Phobia


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