Depression 'is NOT caused by low serotonin levels'Study casts doubt over widespread use...
University College London researchers argue, however, that there's 'no convincing evidence' that depression is caused by an imbalance of the chemical.
One academic involved in the study described the findings as 'eye-opening', and that 'everything I thought I knew has been flipped upside down'.
Lead author Professor Joanna Moncrieff, a psychiatrist, said: 'The popularity of the "chemical imbalance" theory has coincided with a huge increase in the use of antidepressants.
'Thousands suffer from side effects of antidepressants, including severe withdrawal effects that can occur when people try to stop them, yet prescription rates continue to rise.
' We believe this situation has been driven partly by the false belief that depression is due to a chemical imbalance.
'It is high time to inform the public that this belief is not grounded in science.'
One in six British adults and roughly 13 per cent of Americans take antidepressants, figures suggest.
NHS data shows there has been a surge in prescriptions doled out in England, with 8.3million patients taking them in 2021/22, 6 per cent more than the previous year.
The most common are SSRIs such as fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Cipramil) and sertraline (Lustral).