If low serotonin levels aren’t responsible for depression, what is?
I recently came across an article on The Guardian, a UK publication under their science category. The topic read, “If low serotonin levels aren’t responsible for depression, what is?” I was quite pleased to hear the results of some testing to prove that monoamines in the brain would treat depression. If monoamines could cure depression then that would mean that the cause of depression would be a lack of monoamines, namely serotonin.
Television ads on American television had been stating for years that depression was caused by a “chemical imbalance of the brain.” Then they would pitch their medication that would cure you by increasing the serotonin levels in your brain. They no longer make that claim because it is untrue. They now say, “It is believed that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance.” All you need is two or more people to say it and that statement becomes true.
After years of scientific tests in the UK (and in the US as well but not disclosed) was that these claims just don’t add up. First of all, there is absolutely no scientific way one can measure the chemicals in our brains. PET scans and CAT scans can only show brain activity but not levels of neurotransmitters. And who is to say what would be normal levels if they could be measured?
If clients who were given SSRIs, or Select Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, also commonly known as antidepressants, supposedly had a low level of serotonin, their symptoms would be quickly alleviated. But this didn’t happen. The drug companies will say that it takes at least 30 days for the medication to be effective. Research has shown that many cases of depression resolve themselves without the need of medication because 30 days is the average time a person takes to resolve their unhappiness on their own.
The second test was to test the actual effectiveness of the drugs. Antidepressants don’t work on everyone. Even drug companies advertise on television that “if your antidepressant isn’t working, perhaps you need to take xxxx drug along with it. (or change to their drug)” Studies have shown that antidepressants only show about 60% effectiveness. But what the article didn’t include was that when drug companies conducted double blind tests on their own drugs . . . 60% of those who took a placebo reported they felt better. Drug companies don’t want you to know this. This begs the question: How many of those who took the real medication were actually reacting to the placebo effect? If low serotonin levels are the cause of depression, then increasing serotonin would be effective 100% and not only 60%.
The third test was one of evidence. The theory was that if low level of serotonin were the cause of depression, then a person could be induced to depress by decreasing their serotonin and that low levels of serotonin would be found in patients with depression. While low levels can lower ones mood, it doesn’t do it consistently. Studies that are directed at showing low levels of serotonin in people suffering from depression are inconclusive for the reason that levels can not be measured.
Coming soon: WHY PEOPLE CHOOSE TO DEPRESS
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