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Serotonin Chemical Imbalance Theory Wrong For Depression, Too, Study Finds

Marilyn Folk BScN medical reviewer
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Updated: May 11, 2019

We've been saying for years that anxiety and depression are not caused by a 'chemical imbalance' in the brain. Due to intense pressure by independent research, in 2011, mental health professionals and the pharmaceutical companies finally admitted the 'theory' was to be understood as a metaphor and not to be taken literally (even though big pharma made billions of dollars on antidepressants that were supposed to 'correct' the imbalance).

Today, a new study by Donald Kuhn and colleagues at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center and Wayne State University School of Medicine proved serotonin is not a major factor in depression. This study is published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

The study comprised of developing ‘knockout’ mice that lacked the ability to produce serotonin in their brains. Then, scientists ran a battery of behavioral tests.

The scientists found that in spite of the inability to produce serotonin, knockout mice weren’t depressed. The scientists were also surprised to find that when under stress, the knockout mice behaved in the same way most normal mice did. The scientists also discovered that a subset of the knockout mice responded therapeutically to antidepressant medications in a similar manner to normal mice.

The study’s results showed that serotonin is not a major player in depression and that there must be other factors involved. These results will affect how depression is treated in the future, the authors conclude.

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