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[Neuroscience] Re: Depression, behavior, and Neurobiology

John H. j_hasenkam at yahoo.com.au
Mon May 22 04:48:34 EST 2006

Thanks Peter,

Oh I could become very sarcastic about this because the chronic use of
antidepressants has the following implications:

Chronic administration of typical antidepressants to young animals
results in depressive symptoms during adulthood. This has been noted in
several laboratories.

One psychiatrist has on his web page case studies of patients suffering
longstanding movement disorders long after the cessation of the SSRIs.

A research piece I have in my archives demonstrates that
antidepressants caused loss of dendritic spine extension in the
hippocampus of young animals, which in interesting in light of
adulthood induced depression but I can't find a conceptual linkage for

Of course that silly logical error implicit in the "chemical imbalance"
idea is worthy of ridicule.
I don't want people to misinterpret my intentions. As I say: When
criticising the mental health profession always keep in mind that they
are trying to fix the most complex things in the known universe:
people. Nonetheless psychiatry is subject to the same pitfalls as any
other intellectual discipline. Indeed, precisely because of the
intended goals of psychiatry and psychology, and the overwhelming
complexity of the task, intellectual rigour should be at exemplary in
these professions. Sadly ... .

Saying low serotonin causes depression is like saying high cortisol
causes stress. Alternatively, would a doctor ever place as cause of
death: heart stopped beating?

The big problem for psychiatry and psychology is that they must contend
with individual problems that typically have an environmental or
societal origin. That is to say: they too frequently face the challenge
of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Perhaps this was the
impetus for Skinner's Walden Two. It has been stated that
industrialised countries mental health problems are more severe and
long lasting. As one clinical psychologist I read recently stated: what
more evidence do we need that our culture is generating

Yes, one can make a person depressed, almost any person can be driven
to depression. Yes, the neurobiological correlates will exist. At least
I'm quite confident of that but with this caveat: there is no
"neurobiological signature" for depression. Everyone varies.

Be well,


Peter F wrote:
> "John H." <j_hasenkam at yahoo.com.au> wrote in message
> news:1147939992.896303.206750 at 38g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> > 18/05/2006 2:56PM
> >
> > Caveat: the hypothesis, more correctly appelled as a fancy, is that
> > depression is caused by a chemical imbalance. Since the mental health
> > community has felt free to engage this fancy I'm quite happy to carry
> > it to its logical conclusion and in so doing note the warning of Camus,
> > "It is always easy to be logical, it is almost impossible to be logical
> > to the bitter end." (The Myth of Sisyphus)
> >
> > Low serotonin, dopamine, or norepinephrine are neurobiological
> > correlates of depression(perhaps, maybe, so we are led to believe). To
> > state that low serotonin causes depression is to overlook the fact that
> > both occur simultaneously where as a cause needs to be antecedent.
> > Hence what should be addressed is not low serotonin, but what has
> > caused the low serotonin. The great danger is that in treating
> > depression with drugs we are never getting at the primary causes of
> > depression. Drugs cannot cure depression they can only manage it. Drugs
> > should be seen as managing the condition and the commencement of
> > treatment, not the end of treatment. Thankfully over the last several
> > years the trend has been towards a more comprehensive therapeutic
> > regime.
> >
> > What if you made a group of people behave in a depressive fashion,
> > particularly with respect to neurotic thinking? For example, take a
> > group of Australians and put them in one of their migrant detention
> > centre camps. How long ... .Will this eventually lead to low
> > serotonin\nore\dopamine? If so, what sorts of preconditions (eg. 5ht
> > short allele, recent psychological or physical trauma, childhood
> > neglect) will make individuals within this group more likely to show
> > the neurobiological correlates typically associated with depression?
> > Apart from the obvious neurotransmitters other candidates for
> > observation would include: CRF - ACTH - CORT dynamics (depressives can
> > exhibit high, low , and normal cort readings), acetylcholine, GABA
> > (some evidence to suggest it falls in depression), interleukins 1,6,
> > ifn gamma.
> Excellent reasoning and exemplification!
> And thanks for including the Camus quotation!
> That guy must have been just about percEPTive! ;-)
> >
> > In short, can depressive behavior induce the neurobiological correlates
> > of depression?
> Was that how you meant it to read/mean?
> After what you wrote beforehand I would have expected an
> ironically rhetorical question, like:
> ".... can certain kinds of unavoidable adversity
> (or ditto distressing experiences, or distressors)
> give rise to the neurobiological correlates of depression?
> Regards,
> Peter

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