Empowering Minds Podcast: Serotonin & Depression – Explaining the Chemical Imbalance Theory | Episode 7

Serotonin & Depression: Explaining the Chemical Imbalance Theory

MHE Jr. Communication Officer Margi Marchetti interviews Dr. Mark Horowitz, one of the authors of the paper “The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella review of the evidence,” published in the scientific journal Molecular Psychiatry (20 July 2022) Since its appearance in the medical journal, the article has been accessed 620k times generating large-scale media coverage and massive public response, finally ranking among the 400 most read scientific papers of the 21st Century 

The review shows that “there is no convincing evidence that depression is associated with, or caused by, lower serotonin concentrations or activity”.  In this episode of Empowering Minds, Mark Horowitz explains in an easily accessible way the background and the findings of the paper, allowing the general public to access the scientific truth behind the chemical imbalance theory in order to promote an informed and critical perspective on SSRIs.  

***DISCLAIMER*** This podcast aims to inform people about the much discussed review paper by Joanna Moncrieff, Mark Horowitz and colleagues, which confirmed that there is no evidence to support the chemical imbalance theory of depression. The lack of evidence linking depression with low serotonin levels has reiterated the message that has been clear for some time and this message has been amplified by the extensive media coverage the article received. Mental Health Europe does not wish to dictate whether people should or should not take SSRI antidepressants. It is crucial for anyone considering SSRI antidepressants to make informed decisions about their recovery paths. This podcast aims to make the paper’s findings understandable for the general public.

Dr. Mark Horowitz is Clinical Research Fellow in Psychiatry at the National Health Service (NHS) in England, an Honorary Clinical Research Fellow at University College London (UCL) and a training psychiatrist. He has completed a Ph.D. from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London in the neurobiology of depression and antidepressant action. Mark has experienced difficulty to come off psychiatric medications first hand, which has informed much of his work.

About Empowering Minds Podcast 

Empowering Minds is a podcast by Mental Health Europe featuring conversations with mental health experts, psychologists and psychiatrists, practitioners and people with lived experience. Mental health is approached from an intersectional perspective, addressing the stigma around this topic and empowering the listeners on their mental health journey.

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