The serotonin theory of depression has been extremely pervasive in how we discuss mental health, though no comprehensive review has ever fully broken down the relevant evidence.
At first glance, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) method of keeping serotonin in our synapses longer is pretty revolutionary.
But that’s assuming that an issue with serotonin at the brain level is what is causing depression.
Unfortunately, current research is showing that depression and mood issues are not simply related to serotonin alone. There are MANY other factors at play, chronic inflammation being a key role, along with other epigenetic drivers.
While over 77 million Americans are prescribed psychotropic drugs in the US (which is a number greater than any other developed country), with 45 million on antidepressants, we still have climbing rates of depression and anxiety, and prescriptions are being written for children as young as two.
A new systematic review and meta-analysis, published this week in Molecular Psychiatry, suggests that depression isn’t a chemical imbalance of serotonin or really anything to do with low serotonin at all.