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Re: Chemical balance quantified (redirect)

Posted by so on July 17, 2005, at 18:32:04

In reply to Chemical balance quantified (redirect), posted by so on July 17, 2005, at 17:32:27

It was represented that Henri Louis Le Chatelier's Principle is the basis of the concept of chemical imbalance as it relates to mental health.

LeChatelier stated that "If a system at equilibrium is disturbed the system will, if possible, shift to partially counteract the change"

But this process of seeking equilibrium describes all life, and the only condition in life that eventually acheives chemical equilibrium is death, after which molecules are no longer disturbed by metabolism and eventually degrade to basic elements at which time a general equilibrium of chemicals is realized.

What Le Chatelier described was the role of upset equilibriums seeking to regain equilibrium as a catalyst for life, but he never described a balanced equilibrium which, when the upset by quantifiable factors, leads to specific mental disorders.

Certainly proponants of the "Chemical imbalance" theory as the basis for administering psychiatric drugs can cite more specific imbalances than a general principal of chemistry and ecology. A Google search found only four results relating Le Chatelier in any way to the concept of "chemical imbalance" but none were specific to anything related to any mental health topic.

Of some 113 results for Le Chatelier and "mental health" none pointed to Le Chatelier as the source of any theory related to mental health.

I have no problem recognizing the merit of research that identifies chemical changes related to mental disorders, but there is plainly a lack of concensus as to whether those chemical conditions are causal or symptomatic.

Now I am well aware that depression is sometimes related to low levels of serontonin, with low levels of GABA, or high levels of dopamine or norepenepherine. But all emotions have chemical consequences and all are related to "imbalance" or upset equilibrium. Depression and other mental difficulties involve changes in chemical equilibrium as do all emotions, but "Chemical imbalance" simply doesn't describe the full spectrum of conditions that are descibed as mental disorders and in the opinion of many qualified researchers fails to fully describe a cause of mental difficulty. "Chemical imbalance" no more fully describes nor quantifies the causes of mental difficulty than does the phrase "Life is sometimes difficult."

"Depression is 10 times more common in people born since 1945 compared to people born before 1945. So, ten times as people are becoming depressed now as compared to fifty years ago (and this research takes into account increased reporting and public awareness). Biology doesn't change this fast. Genes don’t alter this rapidly - so this is a clue that clinical depression and its increase are more to do with the way society and lifestyles are changing.

Thyroid problems, food intolerances and other physical illness can lead to feelings of depression but less than 10% of clinical depression is thought to have a chemical basis. Appropriate psychotherapy has still been shown to be more effective than drug treatment alone in the treatment of chemically based depression, and far more effective in preventing relapse. By far the majority of depressions are learned phenomena not chemical ones."

"The term chemical imbalance, I'm afraid, is not a medical or psychiatric term in the strict sense. It is often used as a short-hand explanation for severe psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder, and panic disorder. However, that is certainly an over-simplification. All of these conditions-while very strongly driven by biochemical and genetic factors-also have a psychological and social dimension.

...most major mental disorders have not yet been linked convincingly with such specific biochemical problems."

"The misconception the (Pfizer) commercials foster is that the brain somehow develops a chemical imbalance and the result is depression, occurring in a single directional process. In fact, the relationship between brain chemistry and experience is a two-directional phenomenon: Life experience affects brain chemistry at least as much as brain chemistry affects life experience. ***The 'chemical imbalance' hypothesis is not wrong. It's just not entirely correct.***

Note that none of these citations are from anti-pscyhiatric drug sources, and as is typical of most literature on the subject of chemical imbalance in mental health, none tie the Pfizer theory of "chemical imbalance" to the general theory of chemical equilibrium posited by Le Chateleir.




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