How Prozac sent the science of depression in the wrong direction

The Boston Globe recently ran a fascinating and possibly controversial article on Prozac and how its success has affected the study of depression medication. A quick excerpt:

Like many other antidepressants, Prozac increases the brain’s supply of serotonin, a neurotransmitter. The drug’s effectiveness inspired an elegant theory, known as the chemical hypothesis: Sadness is simply a lack of chemical happiness. The little blue pills cheer us up because they give the brain what it has been missing.

There’s only one problem with this theory of depression: it’s almost certainly wrong, or at the very least woefully incomplete. Experiments have since shown that lowering people’s serotonin levels does not make them depressed, nor does it worsen their symptoms if they are already depressed.

Read full article here.

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One Response to “How Prozac sent the science of depression in the wrong direction”

  1. Matt Says:

    The other thing it does (which is not mentioned above) is slow the “uptake” of serotonin. It is called an uptake inhibitor. I have a serious problem with this since it is inhibiting the uptake of an important chemical in the brain. That is how the supply is increased. There is a different way to increase the supply of serotonin which is (in my not-very-expert opinion): provide the body with the “precursor” to serotonin – 5-HTP. You could also eat more healthfully, exercise and generally find and do what you are passionate about (not what makes you the most money). But take what I say with a grain of salt…I’m not an expert in pharmacology and the science of getting kickbacks from the drug companies like most doctors are…Actually, most doctors are not experts in pharmacology either…they just get the kickbacks.

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