Medical journalist and Pulitzer Prize nominee Robert Whitaker has written two books about depression and antidepressants. Here he shares the results of his extensive research. Some of his findings may surprise you. They certainly surprised me.
He takes us back to the days before antidepressants first came into use. He says that in that era, even when people were so depressed they need to be hospitalized, most of them would get better. This changed with the advent of antidepressants.
Something else surprised me too, since I'd gone to university and gotten a degree in psychology, and been told that of course, depression was linked to serotonin levels.
Whitaker says, "They investigated whether people had low serotonin ... [But] in 1983, NIMH concluded that there is no evidence that there is anything wrong in the serotonergic system of depressed patients. And this was in 1983 before Prozac was released.
"So there was never evidence that people with depression characteristically had low levels of serotonin."