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Serotonin Hypothesis of Depression Debunked


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The theory of serotonin or other biochemical imbalances being the cause of depression has been hugely shattered by a new “umbrella” study from UCL. 
 

Apparently there’s no empirical link between specific biochemical levels in one’s brain and depression. The problem is far more complex than a single neurotransmitter’s concentrations being responsible for it. 
 

We blindly worship SSRI’s on the basis of authority. The lit review also included a double-blind placebo study that showed how the effects of SSRI’s are largely placebos. 

 

There’s much to say about this. What are the implications regarding pharmaceutical capitalism, mental health, the psychology of individual and collective authority, the brain, the nature of emotions, science, medicine, etc.? 
 

Article:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2022/jul/analysis-depression-probably-not-caused-chemical-imbalance-brain-new-study

 

Actual study:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41380-022-01661-0

Edited by Unknown
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Read that paper when Nature reported on it, couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it even though the science behind it looks valid, I'm just waiting for the next paper or some kind of push back to this. Because serotonergic antidepressants or serotonergic agents in general (like the tryptophan psychedelics) have a positive effect on depression and it's just not so easy to argue against that. 

But it really looks like depression is MUCH more complicated than we thought it was. It's not just a chemical imbalance. People suffer from depression because their lives are just so godawful complicated, or they are utterly out of touch with their emotions, or they repress all kinds of other things, or all of it at once, etc. There's just so much.  

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Maybe this is just the biologist in me speaking, but I'd love to see the neurological correlate to that. And why psychedelics, being serotonergic substances, have such an incredible effect on it. They reliably dissolve beliefs about oneself and life, but how? 

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The belief that there are happy people and unhappy people that exist within time seems to be the heart of the confusion. 

4 hours ago, Indisguise said:

They reliably dissolve beliefs about oneself and life, but how? 

From what I've observed they don't reliably dissolve beliefs at all. But if that is one's true intention they can potentially be powerful aids to doing that. The intention and desire was prior to the drug or substance. The universe is constantly spitting stuff out at you that you've asked for and offering paths of least resistance for what you want . 

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In large part depression arises of apparently being born into a world where no separate selves exist, and yet there is mass competition as if there were, including competition to provide substances which mute the symptoms of the belief in separate selves so the competition can continue without inspection of the root of the discord in the first place. 

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16 hours ago, Phil said:

In large part depression arises of apparently being born into a world where no separate selves exist, and yet there is mass competition as if there were, including competition to provide substances which mute the symptoms of the belief in separate selves so the competition can continue without inspection of the root of the discord in the first place. 

How do you suggest one addresses the ‘root discord’ and permanently — or at least significantly in the long term — heal one’s depression/anxiety? 

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6 hours ago, Unknown said:

How do you suggest one addresses the ‘root discord’ and permanently — or at least significantly in the long term — heal one’s depression/anxiety? 

I'd say first understand what it is and why it arises, experientially. 

 

Then out of that understanding you'll be able to notice how it is an activity of your own making. From that you'll be able to stop doing it.

 

Create a positive vision for your life.

Edited by Lucid Mystic
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@Unknown

By recognizing there is love, and there is what one loves. The depression is like a large dark cloud of conditions and limited thinking held above that by averting away from the cloud. Counterintuitive, but the key is unconditionally loving the depression. Non-aversion, not holding it apart or away but bringing it in as close as possible and unconditionally loving it as much as possible. Healing is love. Love evaporates the cloud. 

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On 7/23/2022 at 7:50 PM, Mandy said:

@SunriseI'd love to hear your thoughts on this. 

I see moods, such as depression, as complex web of many contributing factors. Neurotransmitters are one of many factors that influence mood. To claim Serotonin levels are (or are not) the sole causative factor of depression is grossly over simplistic  on many levels. Not only is there a web of influencing factors on mood, serotonin signaling itself is a highly complex web: 1) there are many different serotonin subtype receptors with different binding affinities, 2) there are many different serotonin signaling pathways, 3) serotonin signaling is integrated with other neurotransmitter signaling pathways. - such as dopamine and norepinephrine pathways.


Saying Serotonin is the causation of depression would be like saying temperature is the causation of the flow of river water. Temperature is one of many factors involved.
 

Using SSRIs are a very crude tool to treat depression. It would be like using a hammer to unravel a complex knot.


What I wrote is one perspective within a holism that includes many other perspectives. We could write about depression from a neuroscience perspective, yet also personal psychology, social systems and mystical perspectives. These, and much, are all inter-woven together - ultimately into one singularity of nothing / everything.

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@Sunrise 👍 It is pretty fascinating. I know that directly letting go of a thought that feels discordant is better than continuing to try to figure it out, or blame it on lack of activity, weather or what I ate. Yet I also know that if I eat bad and stop exercising for a long period of time, it's more like playing an expert level whack a mole game with letting go of thoughts than the occasional passer by crappy feeling thought. 😆

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10 hours ago, Mandy said:

@Sunrise 👍 It is pretty fascinating. I know that directly letting go of a thought that feels discordant is better than continuing to try to figure it out, or blame it on lack of activity, weather or what I ate. Yet I also know that if I eat bad and stop exercising for a long period of time, it's more like playing an expert level whack a mole game with letting go of thoughts than the occasional passer by crappy feeling thought. 😆

I like how you framed it. I’d add in lack of sleep. When I’m sleep deprived, it’s much harder to let crappy thoughts pass by. 

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I'm still taking pills. First I took citalopram. Didn't really help. Then it was changed to vortioxetine, which was actually a bit helpful. Vortioxetine is a new kind of drug, not a classic SSRI.

 

Would kind of like to stop taking it, because I hold beliefs like "it's not real happiness if I need to take pills". It makes me anxious to think how these drugs might fuck up my brain or body. And how they might have sneakily made me even worse, how they might shift my personality or change my thought patterns without me even noticing. 😞 That's why reading these things make me feel anxious and uneasy. One more thing I need to change, to quit. One more battle before I can be happy and free and ready.

 

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Catching a discordant belief here... Hard to get a hold of it... Kind of like I should quit taking em, should also quit nicotine and other stuff like that... Because there is a belief that these things are not what enlightened spiritual good boy, the successful person would do...

 

That at some point (not yet, but when I quit some stuff etc.) I will be ready, done, finally succesful. Then would probably finally be appreciated by others, be good enough, succesful enough, to make an impression. To be admired and revered. Could not do that if was an enlightened mystical dude everyone loved but kept taking pills and using nicotine. People would see through me. Lol

 

...or that if I don't quit, but somehow still manage to be happy, it won't be real happiness and might fail as soon as one way or another can't have the substance no more. So there is kind of a hurry to quit, to fight the battle, so that I don't have to go through that disappointment and pain.

 

Sorry, this is probably not the right thread for this but just had to write it down as soon as catched it. 😁

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