No evidence of a chemical imbalance in depression

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The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella review of the evidence.

Joanna Moncrieff and 5 colleagues undertook a systematic umbrella review of evidence aimed at synthesizing and evaluating evidence on the chemical imbalance theory of 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.”

“This review suggests that the huge research effort based on the serotonin hypothesis has not produced convincing evidence of a biochemical basis to depression. This is consistent with research on many other biological markers [21]. We suggest it is time to acknowledge that the serotonin theory of depression is not empirically substantiated.”

Numerous news sources in the UK have covered the release of this study. The complete article can be accessed here.