“The chemical imbalance theory of mental disorders was disproven long ago”

From Robert Whitaker’s post on Psychology Today — I share this because all too many people still think this pharma created propaganda about chemical imbalances is true:

In Defense of Psychiatric Medications, Part Two

In a previous post, I wrote about how Dr. Kramer, in his defense of antidepressants, misrepresented the research findings by Irving Kirsch and Robert DeRubeis, and of course that is revealing in its own way.  The letters published by the New York Review of Books are also quite revealing, and that is particularly true of two comments made by Richard Friedman and Andrew Nierenberg in their joint letter. Dr. Friedman is director of the psychopharmacology clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College, while Dr. Nierenberg is  director of the bipolar clinic and research program at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Here are the two salient points.

A. The chemical imbalance theory of mental disorders is “outdated and disproven.”

In her essay, Dr. Angell noted that, after reviewing the three books, it appeared that there was little scientific merit to the chemical imbalance theory of mental disorders. In their letter, Friedman and Nierenberg criticize Angell for making it seem as though this is news: “Angell uses an outdated and disproven chemical imbalance theory of depression (i.e., serotonin deficiency) as a straw man to deny that depression has any biological basis at all.”

Now, as Dr. Angell notes in her able–and I must say, vigorous–reply, she didn’t write in her essay that depression doesn’t have a biological basis. She simply wrote that the chemical imbalance story didn’t appear to have merit. But forget about that back and forth, for here’s the critical point: In their letter, Dr. Friedman and Dr. Nierenberg  acknowledged that the chemical imbalance theory of mental disorders was disproven long ago.

That, in fact, is true. But of course it begs a question. Why then has the American public regularly been told for the past two decades that psychiatric medications fix chemical imbalances in the brain, like “insulin for diabetes?” Why was it okay for the profession to tell society that falsestory? (read the rest here)

There is a very popular post on this blog written by Chris Kresser as well, entitled, The Chemical Imbalance Myth

And if you missed the last post on this blog,  Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, By Robert Whitaker is now in paperback, making it much more affordable. It can make  a good  gift for anyone who might benefit from the information in it as well.

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