Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
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Re: Life is a chemical imbalance

Posted by saltate on July 14, 2005, at 0:47:57

In reply to Re: Life is a chemical imbalance, posted by so on July 11, 2005, at 13:08:11

On the whole "chemical imbalance" thing- the phrase is an oversimplification to make the concept useful for things like insurance and advertising purposes. To respond to Link's question about serotonin specifically, I think it is incorrect to get hung up on the concepts of more or less when you're talking about a complex system that has literally billions of cells are integrating and processing data. A good analogy is, lets say you cant drive a car. You might ask "Am i going too fast or too slow?" This is similar to the "do i need more or less serotonin" question. Drivng faster or slower does not mean you are driving correctly. You have to speed up sonetimes, slowdown other times, make turns, and come to abrupt stops. This is more what your serotenergic cells have to relearn how to do. They have to become better drivers. The reasons why specific medications help some people by increasing their intracellular levels of serotonin is unknown, but we do know that the increase in and of itself will not alleviate depression. The process is much more complex and frankly it is beyond the current scope of our knowledge about the brain to give a real "explanation." The best we can do is detect correlates, i.e., we can observe that certain receptor types downregulating corresponds with decreases in depression. This is not a "cause". To use the driver analogy, it is more like we noticed that you now check your rearview mirror, before switching lanes... and this somehow correlated with you being a better overall driver.. it is a small piece of the puzzle, but not a direct cause and effect.




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