The “Chemical Imbalance” Myth

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION from The Florida Jewish News If my article, “If Its Not a Chemical Imbalance, What Is It?” threw you into a tailspin, I apologize. I believe the requirement for clarity rests on the writer, not the reader. Let me be very clear: The notion that there is a lack of serotonin in the brains of depressed people and that they consequently have a “chemical imbalance” is a fiction. Furthermore, doctors who promote this fiction are not acting in the best interests of their patients and need to rethink the matter carefully before continuing along this path. No Evidence Of Serotonin Decrease Elliott Valenstein is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Michigan with no financial ties to any particular industry. In his book, Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs and Mental Health, published in 1998, he states, “I did not write this book because I am opposed to using drugs to treat mental illness. . . I do not treat patients and have no reason to be for or against drug therapy, psychotherapy . . . or to take any side in any disagreement between nonmedical therapists and psychiatrists. . . I have spent over forty years working as a biopsychologist studying how the brain and other biological factors such as hormones and drugs influence behavior.” Valenstein states: “There is not a shred of evidence of any . . . decrease [nowadays] in brain serotonin. In another book, a Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer describes the ‘revolutionary’ finding that major personality and behavioral traits are regulated by the balance between norepinephrine and serotonin....
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