Once again Therese Borchard has an excellent post on the idea of chemical imbalance as a cause of depression and how we treat it. She is fast becoming one of my favorite bloggers on the subjects of depression and mental health. Here she covers the pharmacology of a certain class of anti-depressants, the marketing of that class and tries to sort myth from fact. As someone who has been on these medications myself, I really appreciate her work on this topic:
Is the Link Between Serotonin and Depression a Myth
Do you remember the old Zoloft (Sertraline) ad where the sad egg no longer chases the birdy, and whenever he moves, the thick cloud above follows him? Pfizer did a masterful job of taking a very complex phenomenon and simplifying it down to a concept that two-year-olds can understand. In fact, the visual props made such an impact on my husband that he continues to ask me, years after the original commercial, if I am a “sad egg” whenever he senses that I’m experiencing symptoms.
In the late 1980s and 90s, Pfizer wasn’t alone in dumbing down depression to a simple “chemical imbalance,” a shortage of neurotransmitters (messengers between neurons) like serotonin that can be replenished with a class of drugs called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)….