Zero Evidence That Depression Is Caused by Low Serotonin Levels.....

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Once upon a time, a long long time ago in that wayback realm (well OK, only about 14 or 15 years ago, but it seems much longer, and much further away) before I became deeply acquainted with either the medical professsion or this wheedling little whackadoodle weasel of an illness, I read an article on the profound and dangerous and deeply cynical fallacious fairy tale that BigPharma had concocted to sell anti-d’s, both to patients and to the Drs who prescribed them.

The article stated unapologetically that it was all horse puckey, tho the authors used more polite and technical terms, and went on to state if you asked 10 Drs about serotonin and depression, every one of them would parrot the only thing they really knew about it : that depression was caused by abnormally low serotonin levels. When asked for a fuller explanation, not one of them would have been able to provide one.

So it was with particular interest and, I have to admit, a certain sense of triumph, that I stumbled across this very readable, very direct and unembellished article.

I highly recommend it, and the more complex research report below it …. here are a few excerpts:

“Thousands of people suffer from side effects of antidepressants, including the severe withdrawal effects that can occur when people try to stop them, yet prescription rates continue to rise. We believe this situation has been driven partly by the false belief that depression is due to a chemical imbalance. It is high time to inform the public that this belief is not grounded in science.”

"Lead author Professor Joanna Moncrieff, a Professor of Psychiatry at UCL and a consultant psychiatrist at North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT), said: “It is always difficult to prove a negative, but I think we can safely say that after a vast amount of research conducted over several decades, there is no convincing evidence that depression is caused by serotonin abnormalities, particularly by lower levels or reduced activity of serotonin."

"There is also evidence that believing that low mood is caused by a chemical imbalance leads people to have a pessimistic outlook on the likelihood of recovery, and the possibility of managing moods without medical help. This is important because most people will meet criteria for anxiety or depression at some point in their lives."

No Evidence That Depression Is Caused by Low Serotonin Levels
https://neurosciencenews.com/serotonin-depression-21074/

The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella review of the evidence
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41380-022-01661-0

EDIT ... for a correction of facts ....
 
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I bet if I go see my doctor they will still claim depression is a low serotonin condition because they aren't exactly clued up on the latest science.
:lol::lol::lol: :thumbsup::thumbsup: ....

Sorry, won't take that bet because I'd lose.

But the reason that Drs will be claiming that depression and low serotonin go together like ham and rye until hell starts renting out as a Bed & Breakfast is less because they're clueless (which isn't intended to dispute that fact), but rather that pharmaceutical companies rake in so many billions a year off SSRIs and SNRIs (and any others I may have overlooked) that you're gonna have to pry those prescriptions out of their cold, dead hands.

I think that a lot of Drs have known for a long time that the relationship between the condition of depression and the validity of anti-d's in 'treating' it was at best tenuous and at worst a fairy tale, but if they wanted to pay off their sizeable student loans, mortgages, leased Mercedes, kid's orthodontia, etc, they'd better learn to play the game.

And they did.
 

Jyoti

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Great step forward, this study. Though we see that NICE guidelines are to..... keep taking your antidepressants no matter what! There's a real surprise. Wonder where else they might be wreaking havoc?

Here is an article I read some months ago by a really interesting psychologist on the historical nature of this recognition: https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/0...-chemical-imbalance-theory-of-mental-illness/


@YippeeKi YOW !! said:
I think that a lot of Drs have known for a long time that the relationship between the condition of depression and the validity of anti-d's in 'treating' it was at best tenuous and at worst a fairy tale,
Yup.


So, when exactly did psychiatry discard its chemical imbalance theory? While researchers began jettisoning it by the 1990s, one of psychiatry’s first loud rejections was in 2011, when psychiatrist Ronald Pies, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the Psychiatric Times, stated: “In truth, the ‘chemical imbalance’ notion was always a kind of urban legend—never a theory seriously propounded by well-informed psychiatrists.” Pies is not the highest-ranking psychiatrist to acknowledge the invalidity of the chemical imbalance theory.

In Blaming the Brain (1998), Elliot Valenstein, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan, detailed research showing that it is just as likely for people with normal serotonin levels to feel depressed as it is for people with abnormal serotonin levels, and that it is just as likely for people with abnormally high serotonin levels to feel depressed as it is for people with abnormally low serotonin levels. Valenstein concluded, “Furthermore, there is no convincing evidence that depressed people have a serotonin or norepinephrine deficiency.” But how many Americans heard about this?

Apparently, authorities at the highest levels have long known that the chemical imbalance theory was a disproven hypothesis, but they have viewed it as a useful “noble lie” to encourage medication use.
 
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@Jyoti
Great article, and thank you for posting it....

I wish I could remember anything about the article I read all those years ago, because it was really scathing, and as well as I recall, the authors names on it were impressive.

The medical community, hand in claw with the pharmaceutical industry, has been trading our health, and sometimes our actual lives, for considerable profits for a very loooooooooooooong time.

And before someone chimes in, yes, I know there are a lot of beneficial treatments and that they improve, extend, and often save lives. But Pharma stays alive and financially thriving not on those, but on the others. The anti-d's, the anti-anxiety meds, the opioids (tho those have, at least for now, fallen out of favor due to the possibility of a jail term attached to prescrbing them, even to suffering cancer patients and others who really need them) you know, the Dr Feelgood stuff ... and it's destroying lives in every way that it's possible to interpret that statement ....
 
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you know, the Dr Feelgood stuff ... and it's destroying lives in every way that it's possible to interpret that statement ....
where did my mother go, I asked?

Is this my mother? She can't even give her own grandaugter a hug. She won't pet the therapy dog.

Fascinating post, @YippeeKi YOW !! , as I did not know they in fact have so little DATA to support the theory of pushing the pills upon us.

I view this at times like the merry-go-round versus Roller coaster analogy. Thanks to the film, Parenthood.

My life clearly came with a roller coaster ride ticket, and I won' t be giving up the uphill run on that roller coaster willingly. The SSRI pill takes the feeling really good part, leaves you captured on a merry-go-round. Flat. Dull.
 
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I did not know they in fact have so little DATA to support the theory of pushing the pills upon us.
Pharma lab geniusess will sometimes come up with random concoctions (Valium was one) that they have no idea what to do with. So they apply to their very large stable of medical researchers and writers, the ones who actually write the final draft of that research paper with the name of the high-powered Harvard (or Yale or in a pinch, Princeton) doctor on it as the author, and they ask The Stable to come up with a reasonable use for this .... thing ....based on its chemical composition.


Once that's settled, they go to the other Writer's Room, where they have a large staff of imaginative creative types with some chemistry credentials who invent names for drugs that haven't even been created yet, and submit them for trademark protection so no one else can beat them to the punch once the drug that matches up with the name turns up.

I mean, really ... Domperidone (Dom Perignon)? Cialis? Viagra (vigor + vitality + GRAtification)? Flonase (particularly cute, since its a nasal decongestant)? Pancuronium (Pan = Greek for 'all', cure is self explanatory, onium makes it sound, you know, official)?

Granted, most drug names contain hints about the chemical structure, but really? I mean, really? A whole stable of companies that rent out creative minds to pharmaceutical companies that dont already have their own guys that make up names for drugs that'll improve their salability and please the FDA?
The SSRI pill takes the feeling really good part, leaves you captured on a merry-go-round. Flat. Dull.
It also often leaes you dead, frequently by suicide.


I'm so sorry about your mother, Red. It must have been a hard thing to grow up with and live with thereafter ...:hug::hug::hug:

EDIT .... typos, additional info ....
 
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LINE

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I talked with my brother yesterday about his blood pressure meds. He was given an ACE inhibitor* which did not work and then tried on a beta blocker which did not work. I mentioned Imdur which modifies the Nitric Oxide molecule. NO is a natural vasodilator and of course manufactured by the body. As a side note, NO is a multi-faceted molecule, some claim it is one of the most important molecules. It contributes to immune reactions btw.

Anyhow, my brother went on about how the doctor uses a computer program to help determine the course of treatment and that he might likely neglect the Imdur since it sits towards the bottom of blood pressure meds. This got me thinking that doctors typically are not trained to think but rather dispense the most likely course of action. This would certainly apply to the idea that depression is associated with serotonin.

The researchers are the true smarts of the medical community. It takes a long time for the researcher's findings to filter down to your everyday doctor. I am sure there are many factors in this, likely mostly economics.

*ACE inhibitors are likely not the best choice for CFS or auto-immune people since it interferes with immune responses. I found this out the hard way after ingesting just a 1/4 tab which in 2 days sent my autoimmunity flaring up.
 
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LINE

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Research articles dispels that depression is just serotonin: (this took me 4 minutes to find :>)

Relationship of neurotransmitters to the symptoms of major depressive disorder - PubMed (nih.gov)

Relationship of neurotransmitters to the symptoms of major depressive disorder
David J Nutt 1
Affiliations expand
  • PMID: 18494537
Abstract
A relationship appears to exist between the 3 main monoamine neurotransmitters in the brain (i.e., dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin) and specific symptoms of major depressive disorder. Specific symptoms are associated with the increase or decrease of specific neurotransmitters, which suggests that specific symptoms of depression could be assigned to specific neurochemical mechanisms, and subsequently specific antidepressant drugs could target symptom-specific neurotransmitters. Research on electroconvulsive therapy has supported a correlation between neurotransmitters and depression symptoms. A 2-dimensional model of neurotransmitter functions is discussed that describes depression as a mixture of 2 separate components--negative affect and the loss of positive affect--that can be considered in relation to the 3 amine neurotransmitters. Owing to the different methods of action of available antidepressant agents and the depression symptoms thought to be associated with dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, current treatments can be targeted toward patients' specific symptoms.
 

LINE

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Here is an interesting research paper which outlines the role between depression and inflammation. We all know that CFS/ME is an inflammatory process for a number of reasons including immune dysregulation etc.

The Bidirectional Relationship of Depression and Inflammation: Double Trouble
Eléonore Beurel 1, Marisa Toups 2, Charles B Nemeroff 3
Affiliations expand
Free PMC article
Abstract
Depression represents the number one cause of disability worldwide and is often fatal. Inflammatory processes have been implicated in the pathophysiology of depression. It is now well established that dysregulation of both the innate and adaptive immune systems occur in depressed patients and hinder favorable prognosis, including antidepressant responses. In this review, we describe how the immune system regulates mood and the potential causes of the dysregulated inflammatory responses in depressed patients. However, the proportion of never-treated major depressive disorder (MDD) patients who exhibit inflammation remains to be clarified, as the heterogeneity in inflammation findings may stem in part from examining MDD patients with varied interventions. Inflammation is likely a critical disease modifier, promoting susceptibility to depression. Controlling inflammation might provide an overall therapeutic benefit, regardless of whether it is secondary to early life trauma, a more acute stress response, microbiome alterations, a genetic diathesis, or a combination of these and other factors.
 
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It must have been a hard thing to grow up with and live with thereafter
they didn't have the SSRI pills when I was growing up and when they first drugged my mom, it was very serious bad stuff they gave her, which a later doctor got her off of. She seemed to be my mother, once again.

It was in the care home that they really nailed her. What could I do? My mother despite my advice, chose to put my brother in charge of her life. And he did nothing. And I suggested many times she make corrections and she never did.

and I have to forgive him somehow. He does not even "perceive" any of that even happened.
 
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Granted, most drug names contain hints about the chemical structure, but really? I mean, really? A whole stable of companies that rent out creative minds to pharmaceutical companies that dont already have their own guys that make up names for drugs that'll improve their salability and please the FDA?
still trying to figure out how we are supposed to NOT bring up to a doctor, anything we learned about our illness online, or in the encyclopedia. Or on that TV commercial.

Oh: but the TV commercial says I am to ask my doctor of this very specify pill. I guess thats how it is supposed to work.
 
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the Dr Feelgood stuff ... and it's destroying lives in every way that it's possible to interpret that statement ....
its a complex issue. The person in need has some responsibility here too.

and the term depressed- why use it? Why assign this label? Its worth thinking about on a personal level.

Maybe subject the term to an old thesaurus review, perhaps a new label can be found, one thats easier to carry.
 
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my brother went on about how the doctor uses a computer program to help determine the course of treatment
That 'computer program' is based on a venerable, old teaching tool, the learning tree. It asks a yes or no question, like "Fever above 100.0 present?", and if the answer is 'Yes' you go --> here, and if the answer is 'No', you go over -->this-a way ....


That's the expertise and education that's in control of our medical treatment: a teaching system that was first developed in the 19th or very early 20th century to help teach small child their 3 R's ...

Thank you for the reminder about NO .... I keep getting derailed when I gear up to try substances that increase it, and my last experiment wasnt fun. But that was a couple of years ago, three actually, and Im a little better now ....
 
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The person in need has some responsibility here too.
The person in need didn't go thru 6 to 8 years of intensive training and education, an exhaustive examination in order to be admitted to the medical fellowship and is, you know, IN NEED ..... when you're miserable and frightened and desperate, you'll try anything, and if 'anything' is recommended by the guy in the metaphorical white lab coat, it comes with extra validation...


and the term depressed- why use it?
Well, probably because it's an apt description of that condition, and off the top of my head, I cant think of a better one ...


The pejorative view of it comes courtesy, not of the word itself, but of the bozos who decided that in this happy-go-lucky, best of all possible, enchanting and perfect world, anyone who isn't cnstantly joyous obviously is mentally deranged, They wrote it up in the DSM as a mental illness, rather than a frequently rational reaction to a tough and uncaring world, and the constant slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, and BINGO !!! Drs got richer, Pharma got obscenely richer, and two out of three ain't bad.

The third is the great swathe of patients damaged or seriously derailed by medications that often do far more harm than good, and leave a battered, bleeding wreckage of human lives in their wake. And yes, sometimes they prove helpful. It reminds me of a treatment developed for mental patients around the turn of the last century or a little earlier. Raving lunatics were deliberately infected with malaria as a treatment, and some of them miraculously got better. So doctors decided that was the cure for psychosis, shizophrenia, delusions, you name it.

What they didnt know was that the patients who improved under this treatment were suffering from syphilitic dementia, and the intense, lengthy, very high fevers that the malaria caused killed of the spirochetes in their brains, thereby healing them. That the rest generally died, or managed to recover but were still nutty as a Snickers bar didnt shake the Drs confidence in his treatment protocol, which he continued to prescribe til the body count got too high and started drawing attention ...

Sometimes I wonder how far we've come from there to here ....

EDIT ... for a truly lamentable typo, in a personal history rife with 'em ...
 
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overtrain

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Difference between a steer & an M.D.?
The person in need didn't go thru 6 to 8 years of intensive training and education, an exhaustive examination in order to be admitted to the medical fellowship and is, you know, IN NEED ..... when you're miserable and frightened and desperate, you'll try anything, and if 'anything' is recommended by the guy in the metaphorical white lab coat, it comes with extra validation...


Well, probably because it's an apt description of that condition, and off the top of my head, I cant think of a better one ...

The pejorative view of it comes courtesy, not of the word itself, but of the bozos who decided that in this happy-go-lucky, best of all possible, enchanting and perfect world, anyone who isn't cnstantly joyous obviously is mentally deranged, They wrote it up in the DSM as a mental illness, rather than a frequently rational reaction to a tough and uncaring world, and the constant slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, and BINGO !!! Drs got richer, Pharma got obscenely richer, and two out of three ain't bad.

The third is the great swathe of patients damaged or seriously derailed by medications that often do far more harm than good, and leave a battered, bleeding wreckage of human lives in their wake. And yes, sometimes they prove helpful. It reminds me of a treatment developed for mental patients around the turn of the last century or a little earlier. Raving lunatics were deliberately infected with malaria as a treatment, and some of them miraculously got better. So doctors decided that was the cure for psychosis, shizophrenia, delusions, you name it.

What they didnt know was that the patients who improved under this treatment were suffering from syphilitic dementia, and the intense, lengthy, very high fevers that the malaria caused killed of the spirochetes in their brains, thereby healing them. That the rest generally died, or managed to recover but were still nutty as a Snickers bar didnt shake the Drs confidence in his treatment protocol, which he continued to prescribe til the bound count got too high and started drawing attention ...

Sometimes I wonder how far we've come from there to here ....
I'd really like to get on with my day but you keep posting such informative, well-written stuff. 😆. I'll post this then *stop* 😂. My research showed years & years ago that it was on the down-low that science can't actually show the mechanism in the brain causing levels of it to differ, nor otherwise measure serotonin, so they can't possibly determine if it's supposedly too high or low. But they do understand things like serotonin syndrome (nasty af, had it once) & the cause.

It's all a bit reminiscent of MDs telling us CFS is all in our heads. Ok? Show me where in my head it is? It's impossible to prove a negative, but that's what they get away with in medicine. But as they also say, the medical field advances one physician death at a time. Useful research is said to be 10-20 years known before it hits the public.

Depression is a sane reaction to insane life circumstances, in my opinion, in my experience. That's not to deny horrid, disabling depression that strikes folks out of nowhere. Few worse things than that! Last, Big pharma 🎲🃏💰💲💵💳 is something I've tried to steer 🐂 clear of my whole 60 years, & plan to continue giving a wide berth to as long as I'm kicking.
 
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I have to say (against my better judgment), I can't believe that antidepressants don't have positive effects on depression. I've seen them have positive effects on multiple members of my family, including myself. I can't give you a double-blind study on it, but the effects have in some cases been dramatic.

That people/doctors rely on them too heavily, and that other treatments can also be effective, I would agree. But I'm convinced that without antidepressants my own family would be much worse off.
 

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It is obvious (at least to me) that chemical interventions (neuro) often cause more problems than ever helping. This is not to say that substance X may help someone, but the neurochemistry of CFS/ME people is different. We do not react like a "normal" person. They gave me Zoloft, Effexor, Wellbutrin and Benzos. The first three were disasters and I quickly got off them. The benzos were the only help, but I got off those as well.

What the general medical community misses is that the human organism is much more complex than giving a pill in many circumstances. There is no question that the immune, neurological and endocrine system are inter-related. These systems must be balanced so the organism can work as a whole.
 

BrightCandle

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All SSRIs seemed to do for me was turn me into a compliant zombie, I stopped complaining about the awful treatment I was receiving. They did nothing to help my headaches, I wasn't suffering unreasonable anxiety given I was in 10/10 pain in my skull and was having trouble seeing and standing up due to the dizziness I think that was a pretty reasonable level of anxiety asking them to investigate what had gone wrong in my body. I wasn't depressed I was in a lot of pain.

Messing around with brain chemistry so far has a mixed response, it helps some people, it hurts some people it mostly doesn't seem to work. Whatever the secondary impacts are would be the likely thing that helps based on the practical impact in the world, we don't understand why they work sometimes is my basic conclusion.