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

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Altostrata

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.

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Addax

Interesting!

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Rhiannon

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...

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btdt

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.

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btdt

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. 

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