cinephile

Again, chemical imbalance is a myth. Stop the lies, please.

109 posts in this topic

Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal axis. Cortisol is the longer-term response to stress, adrenaline is the short-term response. The best explanation I know is in the e-book Unraveling CFS. But the concept of the HPA axis is very mainstream, you can google it.

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I think another thing to remember is that stress is very subjective. Something that can be very stressful to one person can be "no big deal" to another person, and exhilarating to a third. Being stressed means that you perceive something to be a threat to something important to you. I think there are fixed and environmental influences as to how prone one is to see something as a threat, and then there are the conscious and unconscious choices we make around it. Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings is a good book about developing those skills in children. Maybe it would give you some ideas about the roots of your depression journey. When I hear the stories of Holocaust survivors, I am reminded that having something awful happen is not determinative of what will happen afterwards.

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....

It seems that after a year of practically non stop stress, I can barely cope with even the mildest disturbance. Should I just chalk up my extreme sensitivity and intolerance to antidepressant withdrawal syndrome?

....

 

This is the universe's way of telling you to learn how to reduce stress in your life.

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I think it's important to present not just studies that disprove the chemical imbalance theory, but also studies that support it.  The intro in this particular study seems to present a very balanced view of the various biological factors that may cause depression. As well as supportive evidence of direct correlation between norepinephrine levels and depression.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3131098/

Abstract

Depression is one of the most common psychological diseases with significant potential morbidity and mortality. Although the underlying pathophysiology of depression has not been clearly defined, preclinical and clinical evidence suggest disturbances in serotonin (5-HT), norepinephrine (NE), and dopamine (DA) neurotransmission in the central nervous system. Virtually all currently available antidepressants act on one or more of the following mechanisms: inhibition of reuptake of 5-HT or NE (and DA), antagonism of inhibitory presynaptic 5-HT or NE receptors, or inhibition of monoamine oxidase. All of these mechanisms result in an enhanced neurotransmission of 5-HT and/or NE. Evidence for the involvement of NE in depression is abundant, and recent studies on neuronal pathways and symptoms highlight the specific role of NE in this disorder. NE plays a determinant role in executive functioning regulating cognition, motivation, and intellect, which are fundamental in social relationships. Social dysfunction is possibly one of the most important factors affecting the quality of life in depressed patients.

Keywords: serotonin, antidepressants, neurotransmission, symptoms
Introduction

Depression is associated with significant potential morbidity and mortality contributing to suicide, medical illness, disruption of interpersonal relationships, lost work time, and often leading to substance abuse.1 The underlying pathophysiology of depression is not clearly understood, but biological, psychological, and social factors all play a causal role in depression.2

 

Imaging studies have shown that patients with depression have smaller hippocampal volume compared with controls,3 and there may be a link between depression and hippocampal neurogenesis.4 Evidence also suggests that major depression may involve an overactive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis which results in an effect similar to the neuroendocrine response to stress.5 The hormone, estrogen, has also been implicated in depressive disorders68 and in their treatment.9 The involvement of pro-inflammatory cytokines in depression is strongly suggested by meta-analyses of clinical studies showing higher blood concentrations of interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in depressed patients compared with controls.10,11 Other possible disease mechanisms that have been suggested include changes in glutamatergic neurotransmission, reduced neurotransmission of gamma-butyric acid, abnormal circadian rhythms, deficient neurosteroid synthesis, impaired endogenous opioid function, acetylcholine imbalance, tyroxine abnormalities, and dysfunction of specific brain structures and circuits.12 In spite of these new hypotheses, one of the oldest, the monoamine hypothesis which postulates a deficiency of serotonin (5-HT) and/or norepinephrine (NE) neurotransmission in the brain,13,14 is still driving clinical development of new antidepressants. Virtually all currently available antidepressants act on one or more mechanisms compatible with the monoamine hypothesis: inhibition of reuptake of 5-HT or NE; antagonism of presynaptic inhibitory 5-HT or NE receptors; or inhibition of monoamine oxidase. All of these mechanisms result in an enhanced neurotransmission of 5-HT and/or NE. The confirmation of the clinical activity of these antidepressants has done much to reinforce the monoamine hypothesis.

 

An association of specific features and symptoms of depression and a deficiency or dysfunction of certain neurotransmitters has been proposed.15 Thus, a 5-HT deficiency is related to anxiety, obsessions, and compulsions; reduced NE neurotransmission is associated with decreased alertness, low energy, problems of inattention, concentration, and cognitive ability; while dysfunctional dopamine (DA) activity is implicated in problems of motivation, pleasure, and reward. Interestingly, increased 5-HT activity can be associated with certain symptoms such as fatigue.16

Evidence for the involvement of 5-HT in depression has been the subject of numerous studies.17 The role of NE15,18 and DA19,20 has been less extensively studied. This review briefly summarizes the involvement of NE in depression, highlighting the importance of the relationship between NE pathways and specific symptoms.

Evidence for the involvement of NE in depression

Several lines of evidence suggest that NE is a neurotransmitter of major importance in the pathophysiology and treatment of depressive disorders.21

  1. NE projections from the locus coeruleus innervate the limbic system, which is implicated in the regulation of emotions.
  2. Numerous differences have been found in elements of the NE system in postmortem brains from depressed patients and healthy controls.
  3. Genetic studies show that mice with genetically engineered functional enhancement of the NE system are protected from stress-induced depression-like behaviors.
  4. Experimental depletion of NE in the brain results in a return of depressive symptoms after successful treatment with NE antidepressant drugs.
  5. Therapeutic agents which specifically increase NE activity are effective antidepressants.

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I think it's important to present not just studies that disprove the chemical imbalance theory, but also studies that support it. ..

 

I disagree very strongly. See What will get you warned or banned http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1598-what-will-get-you-warned-or-banned/

 

There really is no need to iterate the "chemical imbalance" controversy on this site. The entire Internet is filled with propaganda from this 40-year  research fad. I don't want this site to be filled with it.

 

As I said before, if you want to find "evidence" supporting "chemical imbalance," there's plenty of it out there, Lilu. You can browse through it to your heart's content, but don't bring it back here. I don't want to spend one more minute of my time countering that stuff. There are plenty of books that do that well: The Emperor's New Drugs, Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Anatomy of an Epidemic, Bad Pharma, Pharmageddon,

 

Lilu, you do not have to justify a decision to continue psychiatric drug treatment on this site. You can continue to believe you have a diseased brain if you wish. If you think that's best for you, it's your decision.

 

But -- this is a site to support people going off drugs. That's why they come here. Please do not argue that others need to stay on drugs.

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I think it's important to present not just studies that disprove the chemical imbalance theory, but also studies that support it. ..

 

I disagree very strongly. See What will get you warned or banned http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1598-what-will-get-you-warned-or-banned/

 

There really is no need to iterate the "chemical imbalance" controversy on this site. The entire Internet is filled with propaganda from this 40-year  research fad. I don't want this site to be filled with it.

 

As I said before, if you want to find "evidence" supporting "chemical imbalance," there's plenty of it out there, Lilu. You can browse through it to your heart's content, but don't bring it back here. I don't want to spend one more minute of my time countering that stuff. There are plenty of books that do that well: The Emperor's New Drugs, Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Anatomy of an Epidemic, Bad Pharma, Pharmageddon,

 

Lilu, you do not have to justify a decision to continue psychiatric drug treatment on this site. You can continue to believe you have a diseased brain if you wish. If you think that's best for you, it's your decision.

 

But -- this is a site to support people going off drugs. That's why they come here. Please do not argue that others need to stay on drugs.

 

 

If you're going to present evidence and clinical studies, such as the ones cited on the link above, don't you think it would be fair to also let people know that there are studies that show the complete opposite?  I mean, I believed that author when he talked of studies that tried to induce depression by lowering tryptophan in people, but then when I did a search on Pubmed, I find evidence of the exact opposite.  

 

http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/178/5/399.long

Conclusions The findings that tryptophan depletion produces a relapse of symptoms in patients with depression and panic disorder who have responded to treatment with antidepressants suggests that enhanced 5-HT function is important in maintaining response in these conditions.

 

So what am I supposed to think?  If I am to trust the information on this website as "the real truth", I would like to know that it presents all the evidence, not just evidence that supports it's agenda.

 

Don't you think that would be most helpful for people trying to decide whether or not getting off antidepressants is right for them?  Or trying to find out what is the real cause of their mental illness?

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....If you're going to present evidence and clinical studies, such as the ones cited on the link above, don't you think it would be fair to also let people know that there are studies that show the complete opposite? ....

NO.

 

The objective of this Web site is not to present everything there is to know about psychiatry and its controversies, it's to give people information about going off drugs safely.

 

If people want to verify any information on this site for themselves, they are welcome to do so. In fact, I urge each individual to make up his or her mind about the credibility of information on this site.

 

You have a bad habit of challenging by posting references to papers you don't understand. What's more, they tend to be unnecessarily alarming for the other members here. I would like you to stop it.

I do not want to spend any more of my time arguing about this.

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I forget where i read this but i can dig up the article if need be, but yes the whole chemical imbalance is a myth. the article showed that they tested patients with an anti d that lowered their seretonin and the results were almost identical to the ssri that raise seretonin. in my opinion and experience most mental illness and issues is from traumas, and the environment you grow up in. depending on your personality events when younger will manifest itself when older which I think is where all these "diagnoses" are coming from.

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bump

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"Contemporary neuroscience research has failed to confirm any serotonergic lesion in any mental disorder, and has in fact provided significant counter evidence to the explanation of a simple neurotransmitter deficiency.

 

Modern neuroscience has instead shown that the brain is vastly complex and poorly understood. While neuroscience is a rapidly advancing field, to propose that researchers can objectively identify a “chemical imbalance” at the molecular level is not compatible with the extant science. In fact, there is no scientifically established ideal “chemical balance” of serotonin, let alone an identifiable pathological imbalance. To equate the impressive recent achievements of neuroscience with support for the serotonin hypothesis is a mistake."

 

From: 

Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature

Jeffrey R Lacasse,  Jonathan Leo

Published: November 08, 2005

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A therapist on the MIA site tried to spread that "crap" in a comment by comparing the need for antipsychotics to needing insulin.   Fortunately, Jonathan Keys, also a therapist, essentially told him what he could do with that remark.  :)

 

CS

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It will take decades for this myth to die.

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It will take decades for this myth to die.

Totally agree.   Maybe when we're 100?

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It will take decades for this myth to die.

Totally agree.   Maybe when we're 100?

 

 

We should be so lucky. 

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http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/178/5/399.long

Conclusions The findings that tryptophan depletion produces a relapse of symptoms in patients with depression and panic disorder who have responded to treatment with antidepressants suggests that enhanced 5-HT function is important in maintaining response in these conditions.

 

This is actually a good example of the kind of problematic "science" that is given in defense of the chemical imbalance theory. (Big Pharma has nearly infinite amounts of cash to throw at this kind of thing.)

 

Two things: One, you're working with people who are on ADs or have taken them, as this sentence says, and it's already been shown that these drugs cause biochemical disruption, that's what they DO, so any studies working with this population can't be used as evidence of what happens in a normal, drug-naive brain.

 

Two, you can't just quote the "conclusions" piece of an article without actually looking at the methodology and the data and the results.

 

There's a lot of trash science out there in medicine (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/308269/)

(http://www.cochrane.org/ ).  There are more studies that are methodologically flawed or that manipulate data to point to inaccurate conclusions, than there are good ones, sadly.

 

There's a lot of pressure to produce results that at least sound favorable toward highly-profitable medical interventions, because the drug companies will only pay for research that supports their products (I don't have time to look up the documentation of this but Center for Science in the Public Interest has tons of it). And scientists have bills to pay. So the "conclusions" section of a lot of journal articles often says things that, if you actually read the study, will have you going "huh? what?"

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There's a lot of trash science out there in medicine (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/308269/)

(http://www.cochrane.org/ ).  There are more studies that are methodologically flawed or that manipulate data to point to inaccurate conclusions, than there are good ones, sadly.

There's a lot of pressure to produce results that at least sound favorable toward highly-profitable medical interventions, because the drug companies will only pay for research that supports their products (I don't have time to look up the documentation of this but Center for Science in the Public Interest has tons of it). And scientists have bills to pay. So the "conclusions" section of a lot of journal articles often says things that, if you actually read the study, will have you going "huh? what?"

 

ok, i understand

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Never, ever quote the abstract or conclusions of a paper without reading and understanding the entire paper.

 

And that goes triple for whatever you read on the Internet quoted out of context.

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 in my opinion and experience most mental illness and issues is from traumas, and the environment you grow up in. depending on your personality events when younger will manifest itself when older which I think is where all these "diagnoses" are coming from.

So many people say that mental illness 'runs in the family'  and is put down to genetics when it is because of  the trauma of abuse

that is handed down through generations.  When I was growing up we were a big family with 8 children and beatings were the order

of the day. We never socialised outside of family and thought it was normal punishment for everyone.  All my siblings and my mother

 ended up on psych drugs at some time and some made suicide attempts. ALL have had problems with depression or addiction.  

Genetics? No,we were all damaged during childhood and my mother from domestic abuse

 My father was also damaged from HIS childhood and his mother was also labelled mentally ill after suffering domestic abuse for many years. 

 

Yet somehow people seem to reject that and would rather have the chemical imbalance diagnosis because that is medical and is changed by

pills. This was me too, I was relieved that my 'illness' was because of something physical and outside my control. That meant it would get better!

If only I knew then what I know now I wouldn't have lost 20+ years .  

 

I believe that one day the chemical imbalance myth will die but sadly big pharma will replace it with something else equally if not more damaging!

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 in my opinion and experience most mental illness and issues is from traumas, and the environment you grow up in. depending on your personality events when younger will manifest itself when older which I think is where all these "diagnoses" are coming from.

So many people say that mental illness 'runs in the family'  and is put down to genetics when it is because of  the trauma of abuse

that is handed down through generations.  When I was growing up we were a big family with 8 children and beatings were the order

of the day. We never socialised outside of family and thought it was normal punishment for everyone.  All my siblings and my mother

 ended up on psych drugs at some time and some made suicide attempts. ALL have had problems with depression or addiction.  

Genetics? No,we were all damaged during childhood and my mother from domestic abuse

 My father was also damaged from HIS childhood and his mother was also labelled mentally ill after suffering domestic abuse for many years. 

 

Yet somehow people seem to reject that and would rather have the chemical imbalance diagnosis because that is medical and is changed by

pills. This was me too, I was relieved that my 'illness' was because of something physical and outside my control. That meant it would get better!

If only I knew then what I know now I wouldn't have lost 20+ years .  

 

I believe that one day the chemical imbalance myth will die but sadly big pharma will replace it with something else equally if not more damaging!

 

I am so sorry MamaP that the abuse you experience wasn't addressed.   Sadly, I am not surprised by your situation.   Many years ago, I had a co-worker who was a domestic abuse victim who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  I told her the diagnosis was bogus and she seemed to understand but unfortunately, I don't know if she continued to avoid meds.  It was a very heartbreaking situation.

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It is hugely unfortunate that physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse, and/or neglect, exposure to chronic violence whether it be in the home, neighborhood, or battlefield, is not taken more serious regarding neurodevelopment. That's not to say the impact of these experiences and traumas are not well known to affect neurodevelopment or cause changes in the brain, it's just not highlighted or discussed nearly enough in the general population.

 

Just like taking psychotropic medications as a kid, your brain's development is going to be influenced by what is going on in your environment; your home, neighborhood, etc. Its your brains way of adapting to it's and your environment to ensure your survival. Unfortunately that adaptation doesn't always translate well to other areas, so while it's perfectly functional (and protective) in one area of your life, it may not be in others. But your brain wants to ensure you survive and doesn't care much wether you're socially adept or never want to leave your house. That's when it becomes labeled as a disorder or abnormal.

 

Your brain's response to what goes on around you is normal. What goes on around you may not be. In other words, You and your brain respond normally to an abnormal situation.

 

These things can be mediated or exacerbated by psychological and other factors, of course, but that's a different discussion...

 

It's like, have you seen the picture of the tree the grew around that bike? I always thought that was a good analogy.

 

In the end I guess whether it's "chemical imbalance", genetically determined brain structure, or environmental impact, it's brain functioning everyone is talking about. The label or determined cause essentially determines treatment. Pharm can say their chemicals will correct the chemicals in your brain and make you better. That's how they make money. They cannot, however, say they can take away the hurt and trauma, or erase memories of abuse, or modify your genetics. They are not going to highlight causes they can't fix... Until they think they can.

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ok, my question is this. We all at one point ended up in a psychiatrists office looking for relief. I know these drugs are dangerous, but doesnt how I ended up on them in the first place pose a question? So, you go through a withdrawal, but what about the problem I had that landed me on meds in the first place?

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HI JDM,

 

There are a range of non-medication treatments for depressive symptoms and other neuro symptoms.  I tend to think that mental wellbeing is achieved through a lot of small things rather than one big thing.   We have discussions on how to deal with this stuff under the symptoms forum and in other places.   Given the very mixed results from medication, the incidence of adverse reactions on the drugs and the difficulties of withdrawal we simply have to find better ways of responding.

 

Dalsaan 

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I get the "mental illness runs in the family" all the time ,my mom and her two sisters and daughters are all on anti depressants.They all had troubled childhoods and bad divorces.They cant see what harm the drugs are doing to them and as a result relapse into anxiety and depression every few months.I have given up trying to argue with my mother over the chemical inbalance arguement,whats worse 3 of them are nurses !

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Interesting & SHORT video on depression here. What do you all think? 

 

RU

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Science is very shaky, it's more propaganda. There's no evidence that stimulation of neurogenesis is beneficial.

 

"Depression" is a mood. Everyone has this mood from time to time. It is NOT a disease with a biological basis.

 

Sorry, this is more propaganda.

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Science is very shaky, it's more propaganda. There's no evidence that stimulation of neurogenesis is beneficial.

 

"Depression" is a mood. Everyone has this mood from time to time. It is NOT a disease with a biological basis.

 

Sorry, this is more propaganda.

Understood. So you do not believe that there is a biological component AT ALL that is associated with a low mood? How can having or being in the midst of a depressive mood be explained then? Or can it? And so, in your opinion there is not a genetic component?

 

RU

 

PS. I'm totally on board with going with it's all my mother's fault. Right now I'm convinced she'a a total b*tch. :)

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"Depression" as a disorder has lost its boundaries, partly because of influence by drug companies. Now anything is depression.

 

There once was a rare disorder called major depressive disorder. This had biological markers and may have genetic underpinnings. (Despite our love affair with genetics right now, we know very little about how genetics influences any disease, even obvious physical ones.)

 

Those biological markers and genetic underpinnings cannot be generalized to 99% of what's called "depression" now. There is no genetic test for "depression" of ANY kind.

 

The problem with videos like the one you've posted above is 1) They may have looked at studies regarding major depressive disorder, but they're trying to appeal to a wide audience so they don't make a distinction between something that applies to very few people and something that applies to a lot of people; 2) Their sources may have confused major depressive disorder with situational depression (very common in psychiatric studies); 3) They may be referring to studies that are wrong or phony; 4) They may have misinterpreted studies -- I don't know of any evidence that hippocampal volume is less in "depressed" people (whatever "depressed" means), although there has been discussion of this in psychosis. (In psychosis, it's been found the drugs cause the decrease in hippocampal volume); 5) You have no idea who sponsored this video.

 

So it's the usual big basket of bullpuckey about biological causes of "depression." None is indentifiable except in a very, very small number of extremely disabled people and you're not one of them or you wouldn't be participating here.

 

Now, if you don't mind, after writing thousands of words on the same topic, I'm not going to discuss it any more. Please do the research and educate yourselves.

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Chemical imbalance...what a load of bull! I didn't have one - but pharma made sure I got one!

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Science is very shaky, it's more propaganda. There's no evidence that stimulation of neurogenesis is beneficial.

 

"Depression" is a mood. Everyone has this mood from time to time. It is NOT a disease with a biological basis.

 

Sorry, this is more propaganda.

 

Depression is a mood? Wow. With a single statement you have just invalidated the experience of life-long sufferers of persistent and/or treatment resistant depression.  It is also quite obvious that you personally have not experienced clinical depression.  

 

Maybe it would be helpful to read some of Therese Borchard's writing and here insane and daily struggle with depression, which I posted here:

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6963-amazing-article-what-i-wish-people-knew-about-depression/

 

By calling depression a mood, you are just perpetuating and contributing to the stigma that millions of us have had to endure our entire lives, as people blame us for a disease that we have no more control over, than a person who has lupus.  

 

Depression is NOT a mood, it is not sadness, it is not something a person can snap out of or will away by positive thinking or doing affirmations.  Depression is an emotional black hole, filled with crushing despair and hopelessess, that often comes even when a person's life is perfectly fine if not great.  Frankly Altostrata, I would expect a much more educated point of view from you.  

  

As for the biological aspect of depression and other mental illness, while it may not be as simple as a deficiency or imbalance of neurotransmitters, Human Beings are biological biochemical physical beings whose every system is influenced by hormonal variations, cell communication, genetics, etc.

 

The article below, while admitting that the chemical imbalance theory is old news, a neuroscientist points out that nevertheless, depression, like every other DISEASE is a combination of many factors, both biological and psychological.

 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-depression-just-bad-chemistry/

 

"In reality, however, depression cannot be boiled down to an excess or deficit of any particular chemical or even a suite of chemicals. “Chemical imbalance is sort of last-century thinking. It's much more complicated than that,” neuroscientist Joseph Coyle of Harvard Medical School was quoted as saying in a blog by National Public Radio's Alix Spiegel.

Indeed, it is very likely that depression stems from influences other than neurotransmitter abnormalities. Among the problems correlated with the disease are irregularities in brain structure and function, disturbances in neural circuitry, and various psychological contributions, such as life stressors. Of course, all these influences ultimately operate at the level of physiology, but understanding them requires explanations from other vantage points."

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Lilu, you seem very devoted to the idea that "depression" -- a very vague term -- is a brain disease.

 

You might find discussion more congenial to your point of view on other forums. I encourage you to spend your time on them rather than this one.

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Chemical imbalance...what a load of bull! I didn't have one - but pharma made sure I got one!

 

Thumbs up to that, Muddles!

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Chemical imbalance...what a load of bull! I didn't have one - but pharma made sure I got one!

 

Thumbs up to that, Muddles!

 

Oh yes, that is so true Muddles!

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The point is - we're all here for support + to learn about tapering ADs, since we're being dismissed by the med/pharm world. I believe we already understand the arguments FOR the meds & myths and I agree with Alto that this isnt the place to challenge our choices. I do get the point, but inserting it here is like that damn fly u cant get out of your bedroom. It totally distracts from the true purpose of this forum. I believe u can truly relate. Take care

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