depression Archives - ISPA Psychotherapy

Depression is not caused by a chemical imbalance

By Depression, Research studiesNo Comments
 Professor Joanna Moncrieff and Dr Mark Horowitz (both UCL Psychiatry)

Writing in The Conversation, Professor Joanna Moncrieff and Dr Mark Horowitz (both UCL Psychiatry) report on their new research showing no clear evidence that serotonin levels or serotonin activity are responsible for depression.

This article is a clear and concise summary of the “old” thinking regarding serotonin, compared to the current research findings. A very good read.

“Although first proposed in the 1960s, the serotonin theory of depression started to be widely promoted by the pharmaceutical industry in the 1990s in association with its efforts to market a new range of antidepressants, known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. The idea was also endorsed by official institutions such as the American Psychiatric Association, which still tells the public that “differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression”.

“People accepted what they were told. And many started taking antidepressants because they believed they had something wrong with their brain that required an antidepressant to put right. In the period of this marketing push, antidepressant use climbed dramatically, and they are now prescribed to one in six of the adult population in England, for example.”

They refer to studies of depression allegedly due to chemical imbalances, transporter genes, gene variations ( study involved tens of thousands of subjects), placebos.

Their final paragraph says ” It is important that people know that the idea that depression results from a “chemical imbalance” is hypothetical. And we do not understand what temporarily elevating serotonin or other biochemical changes produced by antidepressants do to the brain. We conclude that it is impossible to say that taking SSRI antidepressants is worthwhile, or even completely safe. People need all this information to make informed decisions about whether or not to take antidepressants.”

This article originally appeared in The Conversation on 20 July 2022. To read the full article – click here

Depression and Older Adults

By DepressionNo Comments
Depression in our Older Adults presents differently to young adults

I recently read this article on the experience our older adults have with depression. It is a well written article detailing the differences older adults experience with depression.

The publishes, National Institute of Aging, shares “Depression in older adults may be difficult to recognize because older people may have different symptoms than younger people. For some older adults with depression, sadness is not their main symptom. They could instead be feeling more of a numbness or a lack of interest in activities. They may not be as willing to talk about their feelings. “

Research is showing intervention early on after the onset of some of these symptoms prevents serious deterioration later on, even suicidal thoughts. This could be as simple as regularly asking how they are, and truly listening to their answer.

A challenge with the article is their reference to using different treatment for depression in older adults always has a medical base ie anti depressants. Current research – ie 2022 publications, is clearly showing anti-depressants on their own are not effective in treating depression in younger adults vs older adults. The author has not included these findings in their article. Hypnotherapy is well evidenced in its efficacy in treating depression.

To read the full article – click here

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