Wednesday, January 25, 2012

When it Comes to Depression, Serotonin isn't the Whole Story

"The problem with you," she explained, "is that you have a chemical imbalance. It's biological, just like diabetes, but it's in your brain. This chemical in your brain called serotonin is too, too low. There's not enough of it, and that's what's causing the chemical imbalance. We need to give you medication to correct that." Then she handed my mother a prescription for Prozac. That was the late '80s, but this story of a chemical imbalance brought on by low serotonin has remained very popular...[Dr. Joseph] Coyle, who is also the editor of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, says that though serotonin plays a role in depression, low serotonin is likely not the cause of depression. Scientific thinking has clearly shifted, he says. Still, the story of serotonin remains. Why does it continue to have such a powerful grip on the popular imagination? more

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