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Depression Is Not Caused By A ‘Chemical Imbalance’ Or Low Serotonin

Joanna Moncrieff, Mark Horowitz, Dr Peter Breggin, SSRIs, anti-depressants, SSRIs - selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, depression, biochemistry, studies on anti-depressants,

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to like to reveal the results of an umbrella review of all the research of the past 3 decades that exposes that depression is not caused by a ‘chemical imbalance’ or low serotonin.

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“The Most Successful PR Campaign In The History Of The World” – ‘Depression Is Caused By A ‘Chemical Imbalance’ Or Low Serotonin’

I know – it’s all over the internet, doctors and psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies all claim that depression is caused by a ‘chemical imbalance’ or low serotonin.

Finally, that theory is proven to be false! It is simply not empirically substantiated.

After 3 decades of research, a new umbrella review of the low serotonin theory  by 6 researchers, led by Joanna Moncrieff Senior Clinical Lecturer, Critical and Social Psychiatry, UCL – an overview of existing meta-analyses and systematic reviews – reveals the theory to be false – depression is not caused by a ‘chemical imbalance’ or low serotonin.

What does that mean for you?

Read on!

Where Did The Theory That Depression Is Caused By A ‘Chemical Imbalance’ Or Low Serotonin Begin?

The theory that depression is caused by a ‘chemical imbalance’ or low serotonin was first proposed in the 1960s, but it was in the 1990s that the pharmaceutical industry began to push this theory to promote and market its new range of antidepressants, SSRIs – selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors.

Who is profiting off the idea that depression is caused by a ‘chemical imbalance’ or low serotonin?

Pharmaceuticals, doctors, psychiatrists all profit from the ongoing, selling of anti-depressants. Remember, once someone prescribes for you an anti-depressant, you are required to have regular visits with the prescribing doctor and continue with the medication, usually for life! The American Psychiatric Association, still sells the public on the concept that depression is due to “Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.”

Who loses without the theory of chemical imbalance?

If you believe and accept the theory  of chemical imbalance, then you must also believe that there is something wrong with your brain, and you will be afraid to discontinue treatment, potentially leading to lifelong dependence on these drugs. When do you hear a doctor suggesting that you discontinue anti-depressants? If you feel okay on them, then they will say, ‘See. You need to continue taking them.’

Low Serotonin in Non-Depressed People

Various studies artificially lowering serotonin dating back to 2005, reveal that even when researchers deliberately lowered the serotonin levels in healthy volunteers, it did not cause them to be depressed.

High and low serotonin in depressed people

Studies of people taking or having previously taken antidepressants reveal that antidepressants may actually lower the concentration or activity of serotonin. Another study in the Archives of General Psychiatry found evidence of increased serotonin activity in depressed people thus disproving the theory that depression is caused by a ‘chemical imbalance’ or low serotonin.

What about success of anti-depressants?

Drug trials reveal when treating depression, antidepressants are barely distinguishable from a placebo (sugar pill), and “Antidepressants seem to have minimal beneficial effects on depressive symptoms and increase the risk of both serious and non-serious adverse events.”

For many people, antidepressants make the patient feel worse than before: ‘I just don’t feel like me anymore. I feel hollow.’ And when they do work, is it the result of a placebo effect or because they blunt emotions in general, leaving the patient empty, hollow and void of feelings.

Studies show that anti-depressants led to generalized “behavioral apathy and emotional blunting.”

What Are Other Explanations for Depression?

“One interesting aspect in the studies we examined was how strong an effect adverse life events played in depression, suggesting low mood is a response to people’s lives and cannot be boiled down to a simple chemical equation.”

– Co-author Dr Mark Horowitz, a training psychiatrist and Clinical Research Fellow in Psychiatry at UCL and NELFT

Adverse life events may include stress (and chronic stress), trauma, loss, illness, loneliness, poverty.

Are anti-depressants safe?

“It is important that people know that the idea that depression results from a ‘chemical imbalance’ is hypothetical. And we do not understand what temporarily elevating serotonin or other biochemical changes produced by antidepressants do to the brain. We conclude that it is impossible to say that taking SSRI antidepressants is worthwhile, or even completely safe.”

 – Joanna Moncrieff Senior Clinical Lecturer, Critical and Social Psychiatry, UCL and Mark Horowitz Clinical Research Fellow in Psychiatry, UCL

Deaths, Suicides and Murder – The Dangerous Consequences Of The Theory That Depression Is Caused By A ‘Chemical Imbalance’ Or Low Serotonin

In 2008, Dr. Peter Breggin, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, authored “Medication Madness: A Psychiatrist Exposes the Dangers of Mood-Altering Medications.” He exposed anti-depressants as responsible for creating long-term, permanent damage to the brain and resulting in deaths, suicides, violence and murder. You can listen to the full interview Dr. Breggin gave me reinforcing that there is no scientific evidence that depression is a chemical imbalance.

“The concept is entirely a PR campaign and perhaps the most – well, the most successful in the history of the world where a drug company set out along with organized psychiatry, to convince people that if they’re troubled or even desperate, that it’s about a chemical issue, not a life issue and they’ve been very successful.”
Dr. Peter Breggin speaking to Patrick Wanis

If you would like to help to overcome depression, anxiety, stress or to be set free from trauma or some other painful event, do it now gently, easily, and quickly with my SRTT process. Book an SRTT session and be set free from the past.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D. Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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