Q: What is the evidentiary basis of the oft repeated story that “mental illness”is caused by “chemical imbalance” in a person’s brain ?
A: TOTAL UTTER BOLLOX.
If you didn’t know already, and plenty do, you do now.
All over the media this week is the story of the publication of a new study.
The study of studies led out of UCL- University College London – by lead researcher Joanna Moncrieff looked at dozens of studies mostly funded to demonstrate connection between “depression” and low serotonin.
Despite billions having been spent over five or six decades to demonstrate such a link, there is no evidence.
Not a snitch or whiff, except the whiff of stinky arses, of corruption, lies, self-interest and oppression.
Having a simple powerful story – that the kind of struggles that get call “mental illness” is caused by faulty brain chemicals and corrected with anti-faulty brain chemical drugs is very convenient – it means we don’t have to address the real problems face in their lives.
None of this is to say that some people don’t find taking those same drugs useful, somehow, for them, or that taking them helps them manage. That’s a different matter.
They do not correct a chemical deficiency. There isn’t one to correct.
If you do take them and find them helpful, please continue. Its your right and your right to choose. Anyone who thinks they know better than and have the right to tell you what you need and what you need to do is being more than a bit of a dick.
If you’re thinking of stopping, please know that doing so suddenly can lead to chaos and feeling worse than you ever have felt.
Many people do and most who succeed do it slowly- usually really slowly.
Not many doctors know how to support their patients in reducing meds- its just not part of their training.
There are some good resources led from peer support work, based in experiences of those who’ve tried.
If you don’t know where to start looking for information you can do a lot worse that the Inner Compass Initiative:
Now, if you work in any role in mental health, or health, or social services and you ever find yourself repeating this story then it is surely time you stopped.
If you choose not to, then you knowingly choose to participate in this system of oppression,
and that’s entirely on you.
You can find reportage on this at any major news outlet. this one is the Guardian, there’s no paywall.
The article is pubished by Molecular Psychiatry Journal.
The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella review of the evidence
Joanna Moncrieff, Ruth E. Cooper, Tom Stockmann, Simone Amendola, Michael P. Hengartner & Mark A. Horowitz
Molecular Psychiatry (2022)
You can read the original article/report here at the website of Nature Journal (open access)