Depression is ‘not caused by chemical imbalance

Sarah Knapton:

Depression is not a chemical imbalance in the brain and scientists have no idea how antidepressants work, a review by University College London has concluded.

Although one in six adults in England are currently prescribed antidepressants – most of which act by maintaining serotonin levels – the new analysis suggests depression is not actually caused by low levels of serotonin.

Instead, depression may be more strongly equated with negative life events which lower mood, the review found.

Since the 1990s, antidepressant use has grown alongside the theory that the drugs establish correct levels of chemicals in the brain but researchers say that is unfounded.