The Chemical Imbalance Theory of Depression: still promoted but still unfounded

HELP

Joanna Moncrieff

A long overdue debate is raging about the chemical imbalance theory of depression. Having been deluged with this idea for two decades now, the general public has come to believe that it is a scientifically proven fact. An LBC radio presenter recently announced that he had suffered from depression and he knew it was a chemical imbalance. ‘All the goodness is flushed out of the brain [and you have to] top it up now and again; that’s why you need medicine,’ is how he expressed it.

Pharmaceutical industry propaganda has led the way in advocating this view, but the medical profession continues to endorse it too. On 18th March 2014, viewers of This Morning, a national UK television programme were advised by the programme’s resident General Practitioner, Dr Chris Steele, that depression consists of a chemical imbalance in the brain caused by depletion of serotonin (1).

Neither is…

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