The Serotonin Theory of Depression

Undoubtedly, you have heard the theory that depression can be caused by low serotonin levels in the brain.  Serotonin is the “happy” chemical the brain makes.  And we have been told that antidepressants help to correct such an imbalance.

According to Dr. Broger, “There has never been a human study that successfully links low serotonin levels and depression…the serotonin theory of depression is a total myth that has been unjustly supported by the manipulation of data.”

So why is there this theory?  Because it garners money as this article talks about.   Billions of dollars a year are spent on antidepressants.  Some doctors will prescribe because a patient is so convinced that an antidepressant is the only thing that will cure their blues–and the patient knows because they have heard the ads over and over and over that claim a cure-all.

So why do antidepressants sometimes work?  This was my experience.  Within a couple of hours of taking Prozac the first time, I felt much, much better.  According to Dr. Broger, “When patients on SSRI medication improve, it appears that their brains are actually overcoming the effects of antidepressants, rather than being helped by them.  The drugs are interfering with the brain’s own mechanisms of recovery.” (p 47)

So the drug worked for awhile for me.  It was definitely better than the alternative.  Dr Broger explains, “Perhaps it is by virtue of the brain’s own powers trying to combat the assault of the antidepressants–not the other way around.  But over time, as the assault continues, the brain is functionally compromised under the constant force of the incoming drugs.” (p 47)

This was true for me.  Eventually the side effects became very obvious–tiredness, numbness–and then I began to bounce back and forth between different meds to see if the side effects would lessen.  They didn’t.  So I always returned to Prozac until I reached a point where I was ready to do my own research; I was ready to figure out what was going on instead of remaining a victim of the head and gut war raging inside of me.

Antidepressants have long-term side effects.  And they manifest differently for everyone.  I invite you to begin or continue your own research into what is REALLY causing your depression.

It matters!

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As a young mother of five, I was a mess of depression and perfectionism. Now as Nana to 10, my mess has become wisdom and propelled me forward with a passion for helping families become emotionally resilient, one person at a time.

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