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30 years after Prozac arrived, we still buy the lie that chemical imbalances cause depression

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  • Provocative piece on the 30th anniversary of FDA approval of Prozac. It was justified by the theory that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance. But, as Goldhill points out, no evidence for that has been found. “Depression isn’t caused by a chemical imbalance,” she writes, “we don’t know how Prozac

    Provocative piece on the 30th anniversary of FDA approval of Prozac. It was justified by the theory that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance. But, as Goldhill points out, no evidence for that has been found. “Depression isn’t caused by a chemical imbalance,” she writes, “we don’t know how Prozac works, and we don’t even know for sure if it’s an effective treatment for the majority of people with depression.” What we need to do, she writes, is “remodel” how we think about depression and focus more on the factors that give rise to the condition, as we do with other illnesses. “Treating it as an individual medical disorder,” she writes, “primarily with drugs, and failing to consider the environmental factors that underlie the epidemic—such as isolation and poverty, bereavement, job loss, long-term unemployment, and sexual abuse—is comparable to asking citizens to live in a smog-ridden city and using medication to treat the diseases that result instead of regulating pollution.”