The chemical imbalance myth

not a single study

Dr Kelly Brogan (Holistic Woman’s Health Psychiatrist)

If there is such a thing as a chemical imbalance it’s what happens to my brain when I hear people talk about depression being a “chemical imbalance”.

This is a topic which makes my blood boil and neurons fire because the chemical imbalance idea is simply a myth… a theory at best but sadly one that all too many wholeheartedly believe as fact.

Before you jump the gun and assume I’m some kind of nutty conspiracy theorist I want you to consider this: there is no lab test whatsoever for depression or anxiety. There is no brain scan, hormone check, blood test or any other scientific tool which can accurately diagnose depression, anxiety.. or any mental health condition for that matter.

Neuroscience hasn’t even been able to describe what a “balanced” brain looks like, let alone how to assess one.

Mental health conditions are a set of behaviours and feelings that we attempt to diagnose through psychological interviewing and surveys.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying these conditions don’t exist! Mental illness is a genuine and widespread epidemic in this era and it seems to be getting worse! People are feeling like shit and I acknowledge that.

However there is no conclusive evidence in the scientific literature that proves it is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

So many people think low serotonin causes depression for example.. but the scientific data shows how people with depression can have low serotonin or high serotonin … it doesn’t correlate one way or the other.

Don’t believe me? Check out the work of Dr Kelly Brogan (Holistic Women’s Health Psychiatrist) and her article Depression: It’s Not Your Serotonin

If that’s not enough to convince you how about Dr Peter Gotzche’s work, Co-founder of Cochrane and now Head of the Nordic Cochrane. (If you’re a mental health professional you will know what that is.. if you don’t go look it up, it’s incredible: the world’s foremost body in assessing medical evidence with some 37,000 research contributors. )


Again, you’d think a book like this might be written by some crazy conspiracy theorist but it’s most certainly not. It’s hard to find fault in this book or Dr Gotzche’s generally since he is so well respected in the medical research community.

He’s not unhinged. He’s simply someone deeply concerned about the way mental illness is treated and massive widespread corporate corruption.

Big Pharma want people to believe their brains are somehow inherently flawed and that the only treatment available is chemical rebalancing. It’s a convenient myth to perpetuate but it’s flat out unethical.

It’s like if McDonalds told you the only reason you’re hungry is because of a Big Mac deficiency. It’s not that a Big Mac wouldn’t bring a hungry person relief but it’s clearly not the whole picture.

That’s why so many of us are now calling them out. We’re taking back responsibility for our own health any wellbeing and doing our own research. Checking out the latest on Cochrane and what’s truly safe and effective.

It’s “depressing” that it has to be this way but unfortunately I don’t believe Big Pharma have our best interests at heart.

I’ve know many people who have recovered from mental health issues without the use of pharmaceutical drugs.. or those who have used them short term to help get through a life crisis.

These people take advantage of holistic medicine. They follow their inner guidance and listen to what it has to say. They eat well, exercise, seek careers that fulfil them, set goals, cultivate hobbies and a whole host of other effective measures.

They know on a deeper level their mental health issues are more than just a brain kink.

They are whole beings, connected to everything, effected by everything and as hard as it is to implement change they take responsibility and do it anyway.


One thought on “The chemical imbalance myth

  1. Pingback: I’m back and the blog title is the same (for now) | The Truth about Mental Health

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