Scientists have said that there is no clear proof to support the hypothesis that low levels of serotonin are responsible for depression. According to the current analysis of previously published research, the disease is not likely brought on by a chemical imbalance. The researchers also recommended that patients be made aware of different treatment choices for depression.
The serotonin hypothesis of depression is still influential. We aimed to synthesise and evaluate evidence on whether depression is associated with lowered serotonin concentration or activity in a systematic umbrella review of the principal relevant areas of research.
However, some specialists, such as those from the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP), claimed that antidepressants are useful and recommended individuals to continue taking their medicine despite the results of the study.
According to data compiled by the NHS, the number of individuals living in England who use antidepressants is steadily increasing. In 2021/22, 8.3 million patients have prescribed these medications, which represents a 6 percent increase from the previous year, when the number was 7.9 million. An increase of 5 percent from the previous year brings the total number of antidepressant prescription items projected to be prescribed in 2021/22 to 83.4 million.
According to the findings of a recent study conducted by experts at University College London (UCL), an estimated 85–90 percent of people think that low serotonin levels or a chemical imbalance are the root causes of depression. It was initially believed that the majority of antidepressants, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, worked by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain that were unusually low. Joanna Moncrieff, the study’s primary author and a professor of psychiatry at UCL, also works as a consultant psychiatrist at the North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT).
A substantial rise in the number of people using antidepressants has occurred concurrently with the rise in popularity of the ‘chemical imbalance’ explanation of depression. Despite the fact that antidepressant prescription rates continue to climb despite the fact that antidepressant side effects, especially the severe withdrawal symptoms that may occur when individuals attempt to stop taking them, have affected thousands of people,