E_belli

177d

What are people's thoughts on this new study that came out about serotonin imbalances? Apparently a study is now claiming that depression isn't a chemical imbalance and the meds we take are all placebo and have no actual medical backing?
I know it's a backed up study but I still don't believe it. I disagree. Some meds work and don't work. I've experienced that. I don't think the whole psychiatric community can all be tricked by placebo. And I think saying that is dangerous. What do you all think of this?

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  • River_cat

    177d

    I’m having a hard time believing this too. Zoloft almost made me malice myself, and talking Prozac has freaking changed my life. If it were a placebo, i would be able to function when i forget to take them

    • River_cat

      177d

      Ew i meant unalive myself, not malice lol

      • Heaven197987

        176d

        opposite for me I was to numb on zolft I'll keep my Cymbalta

    • E_belli

      176d

      I'm the same way with meds! I've tried so many that didn't work or made me feel crappy and Prozac was a game changer for me too. I just have a hard time believing it.

      • GrayZombie

        176d

        I’ve been on Prozac for about a month and it’s been working really well for me too!

    • oasis

      176d

      so glad someone had the same results with these two. Everyone I know benefits from Zoloft but it made my life so much worse. I found out Prozac is a stimulant medication and Zoloft is not so that's something worth pondering lol

      • SmileySnail

        175d

        I'm there with you, both times I took Zoloft it sent me to the hospital with serotonin syndrome at the lowest dose. Never again!!

  • wise

    176d

    the issue is that sometimes it IS a disorder originating in the brain's inability to properly produce neurotransmitters, and sometimes what we call depression is actually just a normal response to awful circumstances. I will say a lot of psychologists and psychiatrists are also disagreeing with the study and saying you can't make blanket statements like that because of how complex and varied the brain and psychology are

    • E_belli

      176d

      I agree! And I think you're right about depression at some times being a response. But I also think that that isn't always what it is. It can't be. And I agree with them too about the blanket statement. It it will hurt people and make lots of ppl take their meds. In some articles I've read it talks about how psychiatrists have been lying to be and we are just a victim of the system.

    • Leiasky

      176d

      👍

  • Pisforpotato

    176d

    Hello! Would you mind sharing this study with me? I’d love to read over it and try to see their logic.

    • E_belli

      176d

      https://www.contemporaryclinic.com/view/researchers-find-no-evidence-that-depression-is-caused-by-low-serotonin I was a little misled on a part in a different article. It says they haven't tested the efficacy of antidepressants yet just the serotonin levels. Let me know what you think!

      • Pisforpotato

        176d

        hi! So I reviewed it and a few other resources. I THINK what they may be getting at is that depression is more complex and has many different correlations than just serotonin alone. And with that, the misconception for years has been that an imbalance in serotonin is the cause for depression, when in reality, it only plays a part. Which is also why I think they are addressing SSRIs because those only combat part of the issue, therefore creating the question of “how does this work “efficiently” if it doesn’t address the entire problem?” That’s just my take on it!

  • Raven8

    176d

    If I miss a day of meds I uncontrollably weep and am very irritable.

  • MissWilwarin

    176d

    The issue is that like other mental “illnesses” there are different causes. Sometimes it’s a physical chemical imbalance and others it’s psychological. When it comes to the mind, there’s no “one size fits all” kind of answer for anything.

  • laceyandme

    176d

    If this was true ill be dead

    • E_belli

      176d

      what do you mean?

      • laceyandme

        176d

        i need meds or ill try to unlive myself cause i have depression all away to schizophrenia. Meds are a important part of my life

  • CaesarZeppli

    176d

    but they all have different functions? this study seems to hold no water, there is definitely no placebos

  • MysticFairyFae

    176d

    I’ve not heard of this study but I’ll look into it. That’s interesting.

  • niceshyguy

    176d

    I don't even begin to entertain that, because we all know what it's like to deal with this disease, it's not fun it's a real struggle and for alot of folks it's even more. But really in the end whether it's placebo effect or not, if that person is actually getting relief, then that's all that matters. Just give it another 3 months and it will be an opposite study that says a totally different story.

  • ChristineD

    176d

    What? Doesn't make sense to me.

  • ChristineD

    176d

    Very dangerous for people to believe this.

    • E_belli

      176d

      I 1000% agree. I think it's going to cause a lot of problems. Bad problems. Because there are some articles out there that say that the whole psychiatric community is being lied to and all these extreme and untrue things. I don't know what made them publish this in the way that they did.

  • hurtstotouchfire

    176d

    Wow! 👋 Hi I'm a severely depressed person with a neuroscience background and I've been on several SRI drugs. I'm going to make a comment that addresses some of the misconceptions and then maybe tag a few of the separate threads.

  • hurtstotouchfire

    176d

    Misconception 1: The meds we take are all placebos. Placebos are classically sugar pills or something that appears the same as the experimental substance. The point of them is to do nothing biologically. SRIs definitely *do something*. Our bodies naturally produce serotonin, and it affects many different systems including sleep, sex drive, and digestion. For anyone who's been on an SRI medication you may also note that those are some of the symptoms where you get side effects. The presence of side effects alone indicates that it's not a placebo, and many people do find that taking them improves their mood. That's established by science, and not actually what the study is about.

  • oasis

    176d

    Really glad we have this safe space for discussions like these

  • hurtstotouchfire

    176d

    Misconception 2: This study tested whether depression is caused by low serotonin levels. -- This study didn't actually test anything, it's a review of a lot of other literature, so they are summarizing many findings over time. This is important because it's very unlikely that any follow up study could just disprove everything in this review. The reason they're doing this review is because they think there's an important point to be made and I think that's true, though I don't think they've done a great job communicating it.

    • hurtstotouchfire

      176d

      Important takeaway: Depression is not caused by lower levels of serotonin. The reason this is important is because tons of pharmaceutical companies have perpetuated this idea long after it was clearly unsupported by science, and it contributes to a perception that depressed people are "broken" or missing something. In reality, as several other people noted, it's just a lot more complex than that. Depression might be a totally normal response to living in an abusive situation, or it might be part of a larger medical issue with other systems at play (like chronic illness).

  • hurtstotouchfire

    176d

    Important takeaway: Long term SRI use may result in compensatory changes in the brain. -- This is a little bit tricky to explain since we just established that lower serotonin levels don't cause depression so who cares if long term SRI use causes my body to produce less serotonin? Well, because it's not that simple. Think about pain tolerance in chronic illness or sensory sensitivity in autistic people. Levels alone don't matter, what matters is what your body is tuned to. This is another part of why the pharmaceutical industry doesn't like focusing on the more complex interpretations of the role that serotonin plays in depression. It's pretty clear that it plays *some role*, but it's also clear that it's not a "more is better" role, which is how the industry would like it framed.

  • hurtstotouchfire

    176d

    Important takeaway: SRIs have pretty serious side effects, and over-prescribing them is both dangerous and irresponsible in that it ignores other causes for depression in favor of a quick fix. -- I want to make it super clear that it is VERY IMPORTANT for people to have access to this type of meds and it's saved me from suicide at multiple points in my life. However, in some of those times I could have probably also used like... Proper medical treatment for other issues like chronic bladder pain or therapeutic / social service support in escaping the sexual abuse that probably causing it. Furthermore, for undiagnosed bipolar or bpd folks, SRIs can trigger manic episodes and do more damage than help. So while yes, SRIs are super critical, maybe they shouldn't be the first / only line of defense. And that's what this study was trying to say.

    • hurtstotouchfire

      176d

      Umm ok, that was a lot. If anyone has science questions I can try to answer. And ultimately, thanks E_belli for posting about this, I think it's a really important topic.

  • lai

    176d

    yeah that article kinda made me upset, it feeds into the idea that depression isnt a legitimate issue. also, medications are always tested with placebo groups. its not a placebo effect, although there might be evidence that depression isnt just a seratonin issue but with multiple neurotransmitters- that i definitely believe. overall though i think this does more harm than good when the research hasn’t been completed yet

    • hurtstotouchfire

      176d

      I'm not really sure where the placebo part came from. The study doesn't actually claim that SRIs are placebos.

      • lai

        176d

        yeah the study didnt, but when it was originally being reported on, the news sites i saw seemed to imply that the results meant that ssris dont have any actual therapeutic effect. its an issue of extrapolation unfortunately whenever non-scientists try to draw conclusions from studies

      • E_belli

        176d

        I heard the same as @lai and I agree. People don't know how to interpret these study results except how the news portrays them and when that info is incorrect or misleading it does more harm than good in my opinion. But also thank you so much for clearing those things up! I appreciate you taking the time to explain those things. It does explain things better than what I was reading. It seems like the websites that I saw were some of the misleading ones. Really though, thanks so much! I feel better informed and feel like I understand more about the study than my initial takeaways.

  • ThatLoudGirl

    175d

    🙏

  • KitKat1450

    175d

    Multiple factors that come into play. I had genetic testing done and know for sure I have a chemical imbalance. My body doesn’t produce serotonin like normal. For me, it wouldn’t be accurate to say that’s the only factor in play. I’ve never been on a medication that helped. I’ve done other things that have helped. I feel like this is like a nature vs nurture debate and nothing is clear cut, especially not with the human body. And in research so many factors come in to play. I love the discussion of this but to say the book is closed and it’s not a chemical imbalance is bullshit just the same as when they previously said oh it’s just a chemical imbalance and we can fix that with meds. Meds work for some and not for others. I have friends that swear by their meds, and can say their meds to help them. I pray I can find some that help me manage but no cigar so far.

  • Irenebeth

    175d

    I am new here and not sure if you posted the study or not but I am very interested in this cause I have a sensitivity to anything that increase serotonin. I have had serotonin syndrome multiple times and have a list of things I learned cause an increase of serotonin one way or another: - resveratrol / Japanese knotweed (extra strong) - 5-HTP (extra strong. Precursor to serotonin) - Niacin (pretty strong. precursor to serotonin) - Lowers Benzos/Benzo Withdrawal - opiates (work like an SSRI) - recreational drugs like crack/cocaine, MDMA, research chemicals - amphetamines - antihistamines (some of them) - black walnut (medium) - ginkgo biloba (light) - stinging nettle - ginseng If you are on anything that causes serotonin to increase in the brain or not be taken by it’s receptors site, or not be broken down by enzymes, and then you take ANOTHER substance that also does, then you are risking a dangerous reaction called Serotonin Syndrome, which has symptoms that vary greatly. For me, confusion, disassociating, feeling manic, speed talking, having trouble listening, racing heart, feeling cold, a buzzing feeling in the brain, Brain fog, short term memory loss, trouble focusing, making mistakes, a decrease in coordination, fever.. are all symptoms I’ve had in different combinations over the course of having this happen to me at least a dozen times. The only treatment for serotonin syndrome: 1. Stop Serotonin increasing Substances immediately (3 days later, you should feel a lot better but it can take much longer to feel back to normal) 2. Oxygen Therapy 3. Benzodiazepines is the only drug used to treat this condition due to its ability to lower serotonin

    • E_belli

      175d

      I did not know some of those things affect serotonin. Thanks for sharing this info! I haven't experienced serotonin syndrome before but it sounds scary and horrible. I'm glad you made it through those times! I'm taking/have taken a shitton of meds that affect serotonin all at the same time so i’m a little surprised I haven't gotten it before. But I sure am thankful.

  • Irenebeth

    175d

    I think most depression is caused by a lack of what humans need to be happy. Look up Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. So if someone has no purpose to life and is depressed cause they have no motivation, giving them medication instead of instruction is damaging imo. If someone is depressed cause they live in constant fear and have negative thoughts, then working on fixing those symptoms would make more sense than covering it up with a bandaid. Negative thoughts can be fixed by learning how to Identify COGNITIVE DISTORTIONS in your thoughts. Once someone becomes mindful of their thoughts and realizes that thoughts come before emotions, then they can work on responding from a logical standpoint instead of reacting by impulse based on an irrational thought they have due to habit. This is just an example.. there are so many ways to change our emotions other than messing with our neurotransmitters

  • Schiele

    175d

    If it’s a placebo then it’s a placebo that helped curb my depressive episodes so they’re less frequent and less bad. That’s good enough for me to keep going.

    • hurtstotouchfire

      170d

      it's not a placebo, none of the studies claimed that, but some of the news sites were misleading. See earlier comments in this post. 💕

  • xxlostgirl

    175d

    Yeah. I’m not so sure I buy into it. I’ve been off and on antidepressants since I was like 12 years old (27years) I can tell you that some have made my depression worse. Some have help. And some couldn’t feel worked. Right now im taking one and if I miss a dose or am late with it. “Crazy Summer” comes out to play! 🤣 That’s not a pretty thing! I get extremely irritable and my depression kicks back in. But when im consistent and taking it on time. I see a huge difference! I go from being suicidal without meds to feeling like I want to live! So I can’t hardly believe that that could be some placebo effect I’m making up in my mind! 😕

    • hurtstotouchfire

      170d

      there's no scientific claim that SSRIs are placebo, just some news sites that misinterpreted the original review study. See earlier comments. 💕

  • Ashlie

    175d

    There’s no way…I’ve gone through various SSRI’s over the years and some had some beneficial effects, but nothing compared to Prozac. I went from the lowest dose to 60 mgs daily and my life has changed dramatically for the better.

    • E_belli

      175d

      I recently increased to 80mg and it now works perfectly for me! Like you, so much change for the better. Prozac and Vyvanse are my miracle drugs.

  • EmmaWai

    175d

    I'm glad you brought this up! I've been trying to talk to friends and family about it, but no one else is on antidepressants so they don't really care. Over all I think that if it is a placebo, it's ok, I'm just glad it's working. I was upset at first though because I've been dealing with uncontrollable weight gain and fatigue since I've started these meds and I wouldn't have those side effects on a sugar pill.. so I'm hoping this means they can find better cures with less side effects for this.

    • hurtstotouchfire

      170d

      it's not a placebo, that's a misconception that news sites added to the mix. You can find a long series of comments from me somewhere in this thread that breaks it down. And you're absolutely right, placebos would not cause side effects like SSRIs do.

  • EatenByWormy

    170d

    Lmao there are already people who believe this! I usually call them ableist 🤭 Lexapro works for lots of people, but it causes my dissociation to flare up big-time and makes me feel dull and bored. Wellbutrin is the reason I’m awake before 11 am. Adderall is the reason I’m able to manage pretty much the entire clinical side of my office. One study doesn’t overrule all the other pertinent studies on the effects of psychoactive medication on the human brain, and really most of those articles will misrepresent/oversimplify the studies they reference. It’s extremely dangerous to use a snippet to talk over everyone who has improved through pharmaceutical treatment. I totally agree with you.

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