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cinephile

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

111 posts in this topic

ADMIN NOTE Also see

Lacasse, 2005 Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the advertising and the medical literature...


 

Yes, it's true.

Just saw this NPR article/broadcast on the new Mad in America website. As usual, the mainstream media is a 1,000 years too late, but I'm still most appreciative. NPR has run a story that debunks the low Serotonin/chemical imbalance theory of depression.

And of course there's a million criticisms I have with the article which I won't mention here, but I'm still so very happy about this. And let me say this: I just know that we here at SA somehow, even in an indirect way, have helped get such a story out.

Link to the story here and and a link here to Jonathon Leo and Jeffrey Lacasse's excellent commentary on this heavily flawed (yet landmark) story.

PS: LOVE how Leo and Lacasse mention our homeboy Ron Pies and the very Psychiatric Times article we tore holes in (pie holes?) months ago.

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Thanks for posting these articles. As a therapist, I'd bought into the chemical imbalance theory for years, particularly where manic-depression was concerned.

 

Having had a depressive crash myself a year and a half ago and a number of prescriptions for ADs with horrifying side effects I had already started to disagree with the idea. I was on Pristiq and Remeron when I left the hospital, the combination of which caused pneumonia. :blink: My personal doctor helped me detox from Remeron and switched me from Pristiq to Lexapro.

 

All well and good until I retired this past Labor Day weekend. My stress level dropped so dramatically and so fast that I became near-manic. I took my last fraction of a pill December 14th and spent about a month being miserably sick even after the drug was technically out of my system. Somewhere along the way, between the hospital and retirement, I learned that too low cholestrol can cause depression, and mine was 134 when I was hospitalized, so I tend to think that my depression was caused by a rotten work situation and (gasp) a cholestrol deficiency. My doctor is most unhappy that I now refuse to take Lipitor.

 

Personally, I think the whole high-cholestrol theory of heart disease is every bit as flawed as the chemical imbalance idea. We shall see.

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Great find, cine, thanks!

 

And take that, Ron Pies.

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Personally, I think the whole high-cholestrol theory of heart disease is every bit as flawed as the chemical imbalance idea. We shall see.

Ba-zing! Exactly. It's precisely why I refuse to go on Lipitor and similar drugs. It's also part of my general rule: don't go on any med that's currently advertised on TV. Just like you'd never attend a college advertised on TV.

 

But back to the cholesterol thing: what makes me suspicious is that cholesterol is simply a very easy to measure variable. Let me illustrate this with the classic scientist joke:

 

A drunk is spotted by a cop one foggy night. He's on his hands and knees, looking for something on the sidewalk under the streetlight. The cop goes up to him and asks what he's doing. The drunk says, "I lost my wallet somewhere in the street over there. I'm looking for it." The cop then asks the obvious question: "Well, why the hell are you looking on the sidewalk and not in the street?" The drunk replies, "Because the light's better here, duh!"

 

Essentially, cholesterol is the darling of pharma and researchers/doctors alike because it's such an easy variable to measure and draw conclusions with (that is, it's highly visible under the streetlight). But never mind that cholesterol may not play a large role in heart disease at all -- the real variable (or mix of variables) may be "in the street" and thus much harder to pin down. In fact, some studies actually say that having low cholesterol is more dangerous than having high cholesterol!

 

Again, just skip the high cholesterol meds and try to eat as well as you can.

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Okay, I got sucked in again. My comment on the NPR piece:

 

Let the revisionism begin! NPR has been much too generous in broadcasting psychiatry's apologia.

 

It's too embarrassing for psychiatry to admit has been wrong for 20 years. It's been misled by its top researchers and American Psychiatry Association leadership, who were well paid for pharmaceutical company consulting and papers favorable to wide prescription of drugs.

 

Rather than admit its venality and stupidity, psychiatry says it knew all along the "chemical imbalance theory" wasn't true! Sheerest hogwash. The poppycock about low serotonin is woven into medical textbooks, CME, papers in many fields, practice guidelines, etc. Even the Mayo Clinic has not fully cleaned this off its Web site yet.

 

A lot of doctors are still seriously advocating the "chemical imbalance" theory. See this blog by Thomas L. Schwartz, MD http://blogs.webmd.com/mental-health/2011/07/brain-building-blocks-mystery-molecule.html

 

And the guff about telling patients the "chemical imbalance" lie -- anyone who's been on the receiving end of that "metaphor" knows it was a strong-arm tactic to get the patient to do what the doctor wants -- take the pill faithfully and don't ask questions. So much for informed consent when it comes to psychiatric medication

.

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Personally, I think the whole high-cholestrol theory of heart disease is every bit as flawed as the chemical imbalance idea. We shall see.

Ba-zing! Exactly. It's precisely why I refuse to go on Lipitor and similar drugs. It's also part of my general rule: don't go on any med that's currently advertised on TV. Just like you'd never attend a college advertised on TV.

 

But back to the cholesterol thing: what makes me suspicious is that cholesterol is simply a very easy to measure variable. Let me illustrate this with the classic scientist joke:

 

A drunk is spotted by a cop one foggy night. He's on his hands and knees, looking for something on the sidewalk under the streetlight. The cop goes up to him and asks what he's doing. The drunk says, "I lost my wallet somewhere in the street over there. I'm looking for it." The cop then asks the obvious question: "Well, why the hell are you looking on the sidewalk and not in the street?" The drunk replies, "Because the light's better here, duh!"

 

Essentially, cholesterol is the darling of pharma and researchers/doctors alike because it's such an easy variable to measure and draw conclusions with (that is, it's highly visible under the streetlight). But never mind that cholesterol may not play a large role in heart disease at all -- the real variable (or mix of variables) may be "in the street" and thus much harder to pin down. In fact, some studies actually say that having low cholesterol is more dangerous than having high cholesterol!

 

Again, just skip the high cholesterol meds and try to eat as well as you can.

 

My theory is that an "elevated" cholesterol level is a response to something wrong in the cardiovascular system. When doctors treat the high cholestrol with statins, they are interfering with the wisdom of the body (and content that they've done their best), much like snuffing a healing fever. Apparently it's too cost-inefficient to track down the real problem, especially during a scant fifteen minute appointment.

 

I brought my cholesterol from 204 to 177 over a six month period by avoiding all transfats, so the "something wrong" may very well be an unhealthy diet. However, my doctor was dissatisfied with the HDL/LDL balance and gave me a prescription for Lipitor. At this point in time, I wish I had taken a big bite out of her hand. The Lipitor not only locked depression in place, it caused some rather serious deterioration of my muscles.

 

Doctors are notoriously ill-trained in nutrition. As one of my closest friends quotes, "When all you've got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

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I refused to take statins. I think it's gonna turn out to be another fad.

 

My motto: Avoid all drugs advertised on television. The only reason pharma spends big bucks on ads is to enlarge the market.

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Maybe that's where I've gone wrong. I rarely watch TV or listen to the radio because I find the ads so repulsive. I deeply appreciate that this forum is ad-free.

 

At this point, I'm not swallowiing anything my doctor prescribes, including the script she gave me for a shingles shot. Today's newsletter from Dr. Mercola featured the following:

 

http://tinyurl.com/Mercola-on-HPV-Vaccine

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Personally, I think the whole high-cholestrol theory of heart disease is every bit as flawed as the chemical imbalance idea. We shall see.

Ba-zing! Exactly. It's precisely why I refuse to go on Lipitor and similar drugs. It's also part of my general rule: don't go on any med that's currently advertised on TV. Just like you'd never attend a college advertised on TV.

 

But back to the cholesterol thing: what makes me suspicious is that cholesterol is simply a very easy to measure variable. Let me illustrate this with the classic scientist joke:

 

A drunk is spotted by a cop one foggy night. He's on his hands and knees, looking for something on the sidewalk under the streetlight. The cop goes up to him and asks what he's doing. The drunk says, "I lost my wallet somewhere in the street over there. I'm looking for it." The cop then asks the obvious question: "Well, why the hell are you looking on the sidewalk and not in the street?" The drunk replies, "Because the light's better here, duh!"

 

Essentially, cholesterol is the darling of pharma and researchers/doctors alike because it's such an easy variable to measure and draw conclusions with (that is, it's highly visible under the streetlight). But never mind that cholesterol may not play a large role in heart disease at all -- the real variable (or mix of variables) may be "in the street" and thus much harder to pin down. In fact, some studies actually say that having low cholesterol is more dangerous than having high cholesterol!

 

Again, just skip the high cholesterol meds and try to eat as well as you can.

 

My theory is that an "elevated" cholesterol level is a response to something wrong in the cardiovascular system. When doctors treat the high cholestrol with statins, they are interfering with the wisdom of the body (and content that they've done their best), much like snuffing a healing fever. Apparently it's too cost-inefficient to track down the real problem, especially during a scant fifteen minute appointment.

 

I brought my cholesterol from 204 to 177 over a six month period by avoiding all transfats, so the "something wrong" may very well be an unhealthy diet. However, my doctor was dissatisfied with the HDL/LDL balance and gave me a prescription for Lipitor. At this point in time, I wish I had taken a big bite out of her hand. The Lipitor not only locked depression in place, it caused some rather serious deterioration of my muscles.

 

Doctors are notoriously ill-trained in nutrition. As one of my closest friends quotes, "When all you've got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

 

See this article by Chris Kresser, my favorite healthcare professional on cholesterol:

 

http://chriskresser.com/5-reasons-not-to-worry-about-your-cholesterol-numbers

 

*Note: if your total cholesterol levels are very high (i.e. above 300 mg/dL), this may be an indicator of a metabolic abnormality or inflammatory process that needs to be addressed. Cholesterol is a repair substance in the body, and persistent elevations beyond a certain threshold may point to an underlying problem that hasn’t been identified.

 

CS

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Maybe that's where I've gone wrong. I rarely watch TV or listen to the radio because I find the ads so repulsive. I deeply appreciate that this forum is ad-free.

 

At this point, I'm not swallowiing anything my doctor prescribes, including the script she gave me for a shingles shot. Today's newsletter from Dr. Mercola featured the following:

 

http://tinyurl.com/Mercola-on-HPV-Vaccine

 

I do want to add another perspective. Having watched my mother experience a horrendous case of shingles when she was alive and seeing a former co-worker go through the same thing, in this case, the benefits of the shot may outweigh the risks. Having shingles can cause many problems.

 

Also, you linked to problems with HPV shot which is a totally different situation.

 

Unfortunately, with the way modern medicine is, it is very easy to think that all treatments are bad news. But that may not necessarily be the case although it is very hard to decipher what is in our best interests since the research isn't exactly non biased.

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""Doctors are notoriously ill-trained in nutrition. As one of my closest friends quotes, "When all you've got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail""

 

Getting the chance to listen to some podcasts about diabetes and how well a low carb diet work, I am finding out how true this is. I don't have it myself as far as I know but I find this information fascinating as there so many similar themes to what we talk about.

 

The standard propaganda is eat a low fat, high carb diet even though blood sugars are all over the place as one doctor found out until he saw the light.

 

CS

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Okay, I got sucked in again. My comment on the NPR piece:

 

Let the revisionism begin! NPR has been much too generous in broadcasting psychiatry's apologia.

 

It's too embarrassing for psychiatry to admit has been wrong for 20 years. It's been misled by its top researchers and American Psychiatry Association leadership, who were well paid for pharmaceutical company consulting and papers favorable to wide prescription of drugs.

 

Rather than admit its venality and stupidity, psychiatry says it knew all along the "chemical imbalance theory" wasn't true! Sheerest hogwash. The poppycock about low serotonin is woven into medical textbooks, CME, papers in many fields, practice guidelines, etc. Even the Mayo Clinic has not fully cleaned this off its Web site yet.

 

A lot of doctors are still seriously advocating the "chemical imbalance" theory. See this blog by Thomas L. Schwartz, MD http://blogs.webmd.com/mental-health/2011/07/brain-building-blocks-mystery-molecule.html

 

And the guff about telling patients the "chemical imbalance" lie -- anyone who's been on the receiving end of that "metaphor" knows it was a strong-arm tactic to get the patient to do what the doctor wants -- take the pill faithfully and don't ask questions. So much for informed consent when it comes to psychiatric medication

.

 

Great response Alto.

 

I listened to the podcast yesterday and it was a bunch of BS pretty much still implying that with depression have low serotonin. Oh, there were some challenges to that but then I detected a yes but type of deal. I sensed that they didn't want to let go of the argument in spite of the contrary evidence.

 

CS

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....

I listened to the podcast yesterday and it was a bunch of BS pretty much still implying that with depression have low serotonin. Oh, there were some challenges to that but then I detected a yes but type of deal. I sensed that they didn't want to let go of the argument in spite of the contrary evidence.

 

CS

 

It's so embarrassing to psychiatry and medicine. It's interesting to see how they're backing away from this and trying to save face at the same time.

 

I agree about the shingles shot. It's a terrible, terrible disease, and if you have a hypersensitive nervous system already, can you imagine how awful it could be? I had the vaccine myself a couple of years ago, even though I wasn't quite old enough. Paid out of pocket.

 

Gianna Kali has an excellent post on the serotonin myth today at http://beyondmeds.com/2012/01/25/chemicalimbalancemythfalls/

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This post I keep wanting to add my two cents but I've been separated from anything with a keyboard and typing a response on this mobile thingee that I'm barely literate of... Too challenging...

 

So for now,I just want to say thanks for cine for posting originally and great comments afterwards.

 

Alto, I had to see my gp today and I stole your "avoid drugs advertised on tv" bit and used it as my own notion. My gp, a genuinely good guy, laughed and said that that's very sage of me and a policy he follows in conducting his own healthcare.

 

I try to steal from only the best, like a good vaudevillian or whatever. :-)

 

Cheers,

Alex

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Just saw this NPR article/broadcast on the new Mad in America website. As usual, the mainstream media is a 1,000 years too late, but I'm still most appreciative. NPR has run a story that debunks the low Serotonin/chemical imbalance theory of depression.

 

And of course there's a million criticisms I have with the article which I won't mention here, but I'm still so very happy about this. And let me say this: I just know that we here at SA somehow, even in an indirect way, have helped get such a story out.

 

Link to the story here and and a link here to Jonathon Leo and Jeffrey Lacasse's excellent commentary on this heavily flawed (yet landmark) story.

 

Just read through the NPR piece. I agree it is a positive step to see a respected mainstream media outlet run it. I do think it represents another moment, a crack in the dam so to speak. My theory, maybe Malcolm Gladwell said this too, is that public opinion reaches a "tipping point" after the shift occurs at the *top* (academia, think tanks and high-brow media). Then the broader public understanding follows, or so I hope.

 

Among the agenda-setters in this country, NPR rates as perfectly respectable. A piece in NPR is a step towards that inflection point. I'm hopeful that our current period will see the proliferation of stories like this or better, moreorless favorable to the facts, in respected mainstream press -- New Yorker, NYT, Economist. Following this, perhaps finally, maybe even fairly quickly, the dam will just break and the old understanding will disappear. Gone like the USSR. Kaput. So I hope because it must, right?

 

I also think that the people on the blogs and forums like this absolutely fuel the change. We're all hanging on wires, chipping at the damn with our chisels. It all adds up.

 

What it doesn't change is the sadness and suffering. Cine has talked about Vietnam and wounded veterans. We are like those paralyzed vets, IMO. Even if we recover full health, which may take many, many years, we can never get back the TIME we have lost. Damn near every time I log into this site, I read another story of a person who lost their late teens, lost their entire 20s, lost their entire 50s.

 

I don't get back the moments of my life. I've always got that, we all know it and go through life accepting of the fact. But my time's been stolen with my dollar on the grounds of an inaccuracy (in the best framing) or an outright money-grabbing lie (in the worst light)... well, how do I deal with that? I've lost what I've lost. A lot.

 

I don't yet have my health back. Maybe I get it; I choose to believe I will. But the time's just not coming back. That asset is gone. We all, to varying degrees, have forfeited the two most valuable endowments of any life -- one's TIME and one's HEALTH. It was a forced forfeiture. Adding to the injury, we purchased the depletion of our most sacred and limited resources with our own money. And then the people who sold us our sickness and decay, now they seem annoyed that we're rather unhappy with the transaction. The nerve of us and those like us!

 

In the end, we'll triumph here. Having the truth on your side moreorless guarantees it, short an asteroid impact rendering the whole of the matter moot.

 

So, for me, it's going to be nice to see the other side eat crow in the years to come. But we all know the score. They eat a little crow and lose a little prestige, maybe some money. I don't get my 20s back.

 

Thats on me to come to terms with that and move on and make the best of what remains of my time here with you guys and girls.

 

I am happy though, more than all that babble, to see some more light. Being old fashioned, I look forward to looking a few folks in the eye in, oh a half decade or so, smiling my well-worn half-smirk and letting out a few words, "You were wrong. I told you years ago but you had reason not to hear or care. But you were just wrong. And, my health, I'm fine by the way; thanks for asking..."

 

Also, I overlooked this:

Ba-zing! Exactly. It's precisely why I refuse to go on Lipitor and similar drugs. It's also part of my general rule: don't go on any med that's currently advertised on TV. Just like you'd never attend a college advertised on TV.

 

Evidently, I'm stealing my material from cine as much as Alto. Credit where credit due.

 

Alex

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Thanks, cine and alex. No matter who thought of it first, we're all in agreement -- avoid drugs advertised on TV.

 

I agree about the tipping point. I think Robert Whitaker and Daniel Carlat started leaning on the structure, then Marcia Angell in the NY Review of Books, then Allen Frances and the psychologists campaigning against the DSM-5, and now NPR seeping into popular consciousness -- the tipping point is on its way, if not here already.

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Excuse this departure but regarding media …if you had access to media for just a few minutes or seconds„what would you say or give them (Q)

 

You may have heard that Demi Moore is hospitalized for 'exhaustion' and it's so tempting to go chat with the media stationed outside the hospital and leave them with info about supposedly 'safe' prescription drugs~

Unfortunately in LA it would be assumed that I'm with a religious group ~

 

49 seems to be the female agethatreallysucks

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A good summary of the evidence against this still-prevalent stupidity. It takes a long time for propaganda to die.

 

http://bigthink.com/devil-in-the-data/the-chemical-imbalance-myth

 

The Chemical Imbalance Myth

by Kas Thomas

bigthink.com May 8, 2013

 

Very few countries allow direct-to-consumer advertising by drug companies, but in those that do (New Zealand, Canada, and the U.S.), the medicine-buying public has been brainwashed to believe that mental illnesses, particularly those involving depression, are caused by a "chemical imbalance in the brain." Hundreds of billions of dollars of Proxac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, and other popular antidepressants have been sold on the basis of their being able to restore normal serotonin levels to out-of-whack brain cells.

 

The trouble is, there's no evidence that depression is caused by a serotonin imbalance. And there's no simple blood or urine test that will tell you if neurotransmitter levels in your brain are out of whack. (Serotonin doesn't cross the Blood Brain Barrier. Hence, a blood test would be meaningless.) Even if there were such a test, the mere finding that serotonin is too low (or too high) in your brain isn't enough, by itself, to establish a causal connection with how you feel. Saying that because serotonin reuptake inhibitors help treat depression, therefore depression is a disorder of serotonin imbalance in the brain, is like saying that because I'm unfocused in the morning until I have coffee, therefore I have Morning Attention Deficit Disorder caused by an imbalance of purines in my brain. (Caffeine is an antagonist of adenine receptors.)....

 

As the authors of a paper in PLoS Medicine noted: "To our knowledge, there is not a single peer-reviewed article that can be accurately cited to directly support claims of serotonin deficiency in any mental disorder, while there are many articles that present counterevidence."

 

Serotonin-imbalance theorists have yet to reconcile the fact that while some depressed patients respond to SSRIs, some also repond to SNRIs (drugs that affect norepinephrine and serotonin levels), whereas others respond to drugs like mirtazapine that affect norepinephrine and dopamine and serotonin (or dopamine and norepinephrine in the case of bupropion), whereas for other patients (namely those who respond to tricyclics) therapeutic action involves an intricate combination of imbalances related to serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine transporters (SERT and NET and DAT) as well as the H1 histamine receptor, the 1A and 2A serotonin receptors, α1 and α2 adrinergic receptors, the D2 dopamine receptor, and the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor. That's an awful lot of different types of "chemical imbalance," for one illness. The literature shows that depressed patients tend to respond more-or-less equally well to any of the major categories of antidepressants (this was the major finding of the six-year, $35 million STAR*D study) , basically proving that these drugs are not highly specific in their effects. If they were indeed highly specific to certain types of depression (if some patients specifically needed an SNRI, whereas others specifically needed an SSRI, whereas others needed a tricyclic, etc.) then the patient subpopulations would add up to more than 100% of the total patient population, based on how many people tend to respond to each type of drug.

 

Then there's the somewhat curious fact that tianeptine, an antidepressant marketed for many years under the name Coaxil in Europe and South America, is actually a selective serotonin reuptake enhancer (not inhibitor). So apparently, some depression is caused by too much serotonin.

 

Researchers who've tried to induce depressive symptoms in normal subjects by lowering their endogenous serotonin levels (through a well-known dietary trick) have consistently been unable to do so. (E.g., Salomon et al., "Lack of behavioral effects of monoamine depletion in healthy subjects," Biological Psychiatry, 1 January 1997, 41:1, 58–64.) This elementary result is rarely discussed.

 

The Zoloft web site promotes Zoloft (an SSRI) as a treatment for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). As the authors of one paper noted: "For the serotonin hypothesis to be correct as currently presented, serotonin regulation would need to be the cause (and remedy) of each of these disorders. This is improbable, and no one has yet proposed a cogent theory explaining how a singular putative neurochemical abnormality could result in so many wildly differing behavioral manifestations." See Lacasse, J.R., and Leo, J. (2005), "Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature," PLoS Med 2(12):e392.

 

The Code of Federal Regulations under which direct-to-consumer drug advertising is regulated states that an advertisement may be cited as false or misleading if it "[c]ontains claims concerning the mechanism or site of drug action that are not generally regarded as established by scientific evidence by experts qualified by scientific training and experience without disclosing that the claims are not established and the limitations of the supporting evidence…" Direct-to-consumer advertisements are also forbidden to include content that "contains favorable information or opinions about a drug previously regarded as valid but which have been rendered invalid by contrary and more credible recent information." Despite this, we still find the Paxil website saying (quite falsely): "Paxil can help restore the balance of serotonin (a naturally occurring chemical in the brain) -- which helps reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression." Oddly, the FDA has never once cited a pharmaceutical company for these sorts of falsehoods, which have been presented over and over again in direct-to-consumer advertising about antidepressants.

 

It would be easier to accept neurotransmitter-imbalance theories of depression if the drugs in question worked with the same high degree of efficacy that, say, aspirin works for a headache or that insulin does for diabetes, but in fact the drugs work so poorly that the number one bestselling drug in America right now is an adjunctive drug sold on the basis of helping antidepressants work better (Abilify). When I mentioned this to a (non-depressed) friend of mine, and told him the retail price of a month's worth of Abilify (5mg, 30 pills) is a whopping $683 (making Abilify many times more valuable, ounce for ounce, than pure gold), his comment was: "Why don't you just go lease a new Acura and see if that doesn't cheer you up? It'd be cheaper, and more satisfying."

 

Personally, I think my friend is right. Everybody on Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance who's receiving Abilify at subsidized rates should be offered a choice: continue to receive Abilify, or start driving a new Acura at no cost.

 

I wonder which one people would choose?

 

Additional Reading

 

For more on this subject, I recommend: "The Chemical Imbalance Explanation for Depression: Origins, Lay Endorsement, and Clinical Implications" by Christopher M. France, Paul H. Lysaker, and Ryan P. Robinson, in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 2007, 38:4, 411–420, full version [see http://bigthink.com/devil-in-the-data/the-chemical-imbalance-myth for link].

 

Also see Lacasse, Jeffrey R., and Leo, Jonathan, "Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature," PLoS Med 2(12): e392, full version [see http://bigthink.com/devil-in-the-data/the-chemical-imbalance-myth for link].

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Oh do I ever love this! THIS is what should be printed and taken to the psych docs as something to gently persuade them to do whatever they need to help those wishing to get off AD's. I believe that bonking them over the head with with anecdotal reports of successful AD withdrawal (such as those contained in these and other boards) may antagonize most if not all med docs. But hit them (gently and persuasively) with the peer-reviewed honest to goodness SCIENCE and results of valid studies, and the ball will roll faster and reach avalanche status much quicker.

 

As far as the other sides of the coin, think about it. What will cultures such as ours, who are bombarded with advertising featuring 'pills' do when pills are no longer in vogue? Especially for treating states of psychic pain/disorder? Not going to happen in my lifetime. We 'want' pills. Docs are helpless to do much of anything else but give them to us. Next: bigger, better, FASTER pills (well, SSRI's didn't work lets try this). And decades later: whoops! those aren't really working (wash, rinse, repeat.) I'm disillusioned and sad for myself and my society.

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Will it ever die?? And what responsibility does psychiatry and/or pharma have in retracting the serotonin info that has permeated lay info, supplement industry, health food, nutrition ("bananas supply serotonin..")..? It's everywhere.

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Wait, bananas don't serotonin? I swear I read that especially the skins have a high concentration of dopamine, and here I was telling my friends we should get high off bananas...#joking

 

I was taught the serotonin theory of depression in an assortment of psych courses in college. I was also told that patients with schizophrenia do better staying on drugs, though, so.

 

Aren't there theories out there that say inflammation in the brain affects depression to? I don't get why biological basis of mental illness and our current crop of psych drugs necessarily need to go hand in hand.

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After reading this article again, I want to add that we should be cautious about saying there is NO biological / chemical cause of mental distress or illness. The Chemical Imbalance /serotonin theory is bunk, but in treating with SSRIs (and others) for 2 decades now, we have CREATED a lot of biochemical cases of mental illness. "Iatrogenic chemical imbalance / mental illness", a good portion that most likely would have responded to therapy or appropriate medical or nutritional help.

 

The statement suggesting that a car would cure someone shows the ignorance of some people. Over the past 2 years, I have vacillated between driving as my main coping mechanism (hypomanic/akathisia) to not even caring that I abandoned my very operational car 2000 miles away. Ive been too sick to get out of bed for most of that time. The fanciest car in the world wouldnt have made a difference.

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I've read an article on Abraham Lincoln who suffered throughout his life from severe depression. In those days, they gave a pill called "blue mass" (from its blue color). In reading about how Zoloft is supposed to cure depression, OCD, anxiety, etc., I remembered reading about blue mass which was given to people suffering from depression, stomachaches, headhaches, toothaches, too much gas, too little gas, nearsightedness, broken bones, decapitations, unhappy marriages, etc.

 

When I first took Zoloft for OCD, it helped . . . to an extent. All the obsessive thinking seemed to have stopped overnight, but I still had anxieties that never really went away. I think I would have benefitted back then from being taught about how the brain works (from the little that we know) in OCD and how I could change it through actions. Instead, I've been taking this medicine (as well as others) that has done who knows what to my brain.

 

Mental illness is certainly an issue and there is something wrong with the brain of someone who is depressed, anxious, schizophrenic. But no one really knows what is causing these things and all of these meds and treatments are basically just experiments. Back then it was lobotomies, then electroshock, and now medicines are thrown at anyone who lost a pet. People who are not mentally well would benefit greatly from therapy.

 

I am getting more and more convinced that antidepressants work mostly on a placebo, however I wonder if the anxiety effect also works on that principle. Before I ever took Zoloft, I would stare at my face in the mirror for hours a day worrying about skin cancer and that seemed to stop right away after my first dose.

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After reading this article again, I want to add that we should be cautious about saying there is NO biological / chemical cause of mental distress or illness. The Chemical Imbalance /serotonin theory is bunk, but in treating with SSRIs (and others) for 2 decades now, we have CREATED a lot of biochemical cases of mental illness. "Iatrogenic chemical imbalance / mental illness", a good portion that most likely would have responded to therapy or appropriate medical or nutritional help.

 

The statement suggesting that a car would cure someone shows the ignorance of some people. Over the past 2 years, I have vacillated between driving as my main coping mechanism (hypomanic/akathisia) to not even caring that I abandoned my very operational car 2000 miles away. Ive been too sick to get out of bed for most of that time. The fanciest car in the world wouldnt have made a difference.

 

I agree strongly. There is definitely something wrong with the brain of a person with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, etc. We just don't know what it exactly is yet and are still learning. It's just a tragedy that it's so lucrative for people to throw something at as many people as possible with only theories about what it does and why depression exists in some brains when that something they are throwing has many side effects and causes more harm than good.

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Mountain Man,

 

Very interesting that nearsightedness was included in the cluster of disorders you mentioned. I am (prior to LASIX) VERY nearsighted and have noticed interesting patterns in people with myopia.

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Mountain Man,

 

Very interesting that nearsightedness was included in the cluster of disorders you mentioned. I am (prior to LASIX) VERY nearsighted and have noticed interesting patterns in people with myopia.

 

:lol: Barbara, I got carried away with my description of what "blue mass" was for, using hyperbole just to show how ridiculous these cure-all sorts of drugs are! Although, it's entirely possible that when there's a cure-all drug, something like nearsightedness might be one of the things that they reportedly "cure."

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So what is the connection between stress and our ability to cope?

 

I've read in many places that stress depletes serotonin.  If there's is a lot of stress, then our need for serotonin, the body's demand exceeds its supply.  That's what I've read.

 

And it certainly explains my diminishing capacity to cope when having to deal with one stressful event after another, my nervous system just crashes.  Much like a computer which just freezes when you try to run more processes and applications than it can handle at any one time.

 

If this is trully a myth, it continues to be perpetuated not just by a lack of a better explanation and by companies such as these: http://www.integrativepsychiatry.net/depression_and_serotonin.html

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Yes, along with the "chemical imbalance" myth, at the same time there was a lot of folk wisdom about serotonin depletion, foods that up serotonin, etc. It was a fad. It's all baloney.

 

Stress depletes vitamin C, too. And B vitamins. A lot of things, really.

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Lilu, using your analogy, we have to learn to add more memory to our hard rive. Computers require different amounts of memory depending on what they are doing. A keyboard with characters for multiple languages won't help. Building resilience....that is the issue.

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FINALLY!!!   I have been looking for an explanation as to why repeated and/or chronic stress reduces one's ability to cope with stressful events or triggers.  Since the "chemical imbalance" theory has been disproven or not proven, this at least provides an alternate explanation.

http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/09/study-stress-shrinks-the-brain-and-lowers-our-ability-to-cope-with-adversity/

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Lilu, if you're looking for reasons to continue to take an antidepressant, I'm sure you'll find them.

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Lilu, if you're looking for reasons to continue to take an antidepressant, I'm sure you'll find them.

No, I was looking to find out why is it that multiple and continuous stressful events reduce one's ability to cope with stress. 

 

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?

 

It seems that whether or not the evidence in the article above is valid, one thing is clear, that even in healthy individuals, multiple stressful events reduce their ability to cope, and often result in anxiety and depression.

 

It's just that I was talking with my therapist, and I told her how my tolerance for stress has gone out the window lately.  And she asked me why do I think that is.  So I gave her the "serotonin depletion" theory, but then I remembered that this may not be the real reason.

 

Now that I think about it, she should know that people who are exposed to continuous stressful events become less able to cope with subsequent stressful events.  Even if science doesn't know WHY that is. 

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I think the physical reason is disturbance of the HPA axis. But that is just the body's expression of the soul.

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I think the physical reason is disturbance of the HPA axis. But that is just the body's expression of the soul.

 

What's HPA axis?

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