New Comprehensive Review Finds That Depression Is Not Caused By Low Serotonin Levels, Calling Into Question The Effect Of Antidepressants

Rido - - illustrative purpose only, not the actual person

Antidepressants are one of the most widely-prescribed drugs in America, with over thirteen percent of adults over the age of eighteen regularly taking them.

Yet, these popular medications’ effectiveness– such as Zoloft, Prozac, and Lexapro– have primarily been based on unclear evidence, according to a new comprehensive review conducted by researchers at the University College London (UCL).

The team examined countless previous studies and concluded that changing serotonin levels do not cause depression.

In turn, antidepressants– most of which are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have been called into question.

“It is always difficult to prove a negative, but I think we can safely say that after a vast amount of research conducted over several decades, there is no convincing evidence that depression is caused by serotonin abnormalities, particularly by lower levels or reduced activity of serotonin,” said Joanna Moncrieff, the review’s lead author and professor of psychiatry at UCL.

The idea that depression stemmed from a brain chemical imbalance was first proposed in the 1960s by various scientists. Since then, Moncrieff discussed how the notion had been the backbone of the antidepressant movement.

“The popularity of the theory has coincided with a huge increase in the use of antidepressants. Prescriptions for antidepressants have risen dramatically since the 1990s… and most people take antidepressants because they have been led to believe their depression has a biochemical cause. But, this new research suggests this belief is not grounded in evidence,” Moncrieff explained.

The umbrella review aimed to analyze all studies concerning serotonin and depression research and included tens of thousands of study participants.

It found no differences between the serotonin levels of people diagnosed with depression compared to control participants.

Rido – – illustrative purpose only, not the actual person

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