Mental illness: is 'chemical imbalance' theory a myth?

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Mental illness: is 'chemical imbalance' theory a myth?

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The chemical imbalance theory has fallen in status from bedrock scientific principle to mere marketing device in the minds of many researchers.

Canada’s The Star traces the “chemical imbalance” story’s fall from bedrock scientific principle to marketing device, at the same time that a $70 billion worldwide drug market was built on the theory. “The view among neuroscientists,” says Edward Shorter, a medical historian at the University of Toronto, “is that this emphasis on neurotransmitters as the cause of mental illness is more of a (drug sales) concept than a scientific concept. It helps drug companies sell drugs.”
Trouble is, in the minds of many neuroscientists today, that chemical imbalance theory has turned out to be a myth, with little more scientific or medicinal substance than poetry or song.

And the pills are now largely recognized by a multitude of experts, as well as some of the pharmaceutical companies that make them, as concoctions of magical thinking.

“It’s certainly been blown up inside the profession. No insiders believe in these (neurotransmitter imbalance) theories anymore,” says Edward Shorter, a medical historian at the University of Toronto.

“That’s true of thousands and thousands of researchers. But somehow that news has not filtered through to the public as a whole,” says Shorter, who has written numerous books on psychiatric practices.

http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/201 ... _myth.html
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