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Kemp, 2014 Effects of a chemical imbalance causal explanation on individuals' perceptions of their depressive symptoms.


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Study finds telling patients they have a "chemical imbalance" ie psychologically harmful and convinces them they need drugs rather than psychotherapy.

 

Behav Res Ther. 2014 May;56:47-52. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2014.02.009. Epub 2014 Mar 6.
Effects of a chemical imbalance causal explanation on individuals' perceptions of their depressive symptoms.
Kemp JJ1, Lickel JJ2, Deacon BJ3.

Abstract at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24657311

Although the chemical imbalance theory is the dominant causal explanation of depression in the United States, little is known about the effects of this explanation on depressed individuals. This experiment examined the impact of chemical imbalance test feedback on perceptions of stigma, prognosis, negative mood regulation expectancies, and treatment credibility and expectancy. Participants endorsing a past or current depressive episode received results of a bogus but credible biological test demonstrating their depressive symptoms to be caused, or not caused, by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Results showed that chemical imbalance test feedback failed to reduce self-blame, elicited worse prognostic pessimism and negative mood regulation expectancies, and led participants to view pharmacotherapy as more credible and effective than psychotherapy. The present findings add to a growing literature highlighting the unhelpful and potentially iatrogenic effects of attributing depressive symptoms to a chemical imbalance. Clinical and societal implications of these findings are discussed.

 

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796714000308

 

Highlights
  • Depressed participants received a bogus test of their neurotransmitter levels.

  • Participants received a chemical imbalance (CI) or no CI causal explanation.

  • The CI explanation did not improve self-stigma (blame).

  • The CI explanation worsened perceived self-efficacy and prognostic pessimism.

  • Medication was more desirable than psychotherapy when a CI explanation was given.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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Interesting!

1988-2012: Prozac @ 60mg to treat an eating disorder. Several unsuccessful attempts to discontinue.Fall 2012: Failed attempt to discontinue then -> 40mg Prozac and added 150mg Wellbutrin.Late summer 2013:Began slower Prozac taper.Spring 2014:Got to 10mg Prozac, 75mg of Wellbutrin -April 2014: 9mg Prozac & 37.5mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 9mg Prozac & 25 mg Wellbutrin 2x/day->9mg Prozac 1x/day & ~8mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 8.1mg Prozac, 0 WellbutrinSept '14: 8.1mg Prozac -> crashed hardOct '14: 10mg ProzacNov '14: 20mg -> 30mgDec '14: 30mg, Feb 10: 27mg. Mar 7: 25mg Mar 21, 2015: 20mg. May 21, 2016: 20mg and holding strong.

 

My experience: http://rxisk.org/antidepressant-withdrawal-a-prozac-story/

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The present findings add to a growing literature highlighting the unhelpful and potentially iatrogenic effects of attributing depressive symptoms to a chemical imbalance.

 

Great for the growing literature, but too bad Pharma for Profit has already spent the past two and a half decades swamping the world of medicine and medical education, plus the TV commercials (!!) with the chemical imbalance paradigm. Nobody but us refugees seems to be getting the news...

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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The present findings add to a growing literature highlighting the unhelpful and potentially iatrogenic effects of attributing depressive symptoms to a chemical imbalance.

 

Great for the growing literature, but too bad Pharma for Profit has already spent the past two and a half decades swamping the world of medicine and medical education, plus the TV commercials (!!) with the chemical imbalance paradigm. Nobody but us refugees seems to be getting the news...

and that is depressing.

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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Again creating an illness and then the cure... same old song and dance we see played out over and over.  

How do we ever trust this industry with our healthcare in the future?  

Even if we do break this all down at some point before we die what others have been built using this same game plan... are being built right now... that thought does keep me up nights.  I wish it didn't. 

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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