Die Depression und die Serotonin-Hypothese

Depression is a serious mental illness that is accompanied by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in normal activities. It can also lead to physical symptoms such as trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, and fatigue.

One of the most studied theories about the causes of depression is the serotonin hypothesis. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter found in the brain that is involved in regulating mood, anxiety and sleep. Low serotonin levels are often associated with depression.

Antidepressants, which increase the uptake of serotonin in the brain, are often used to treat the symptoms of depression. These drugs can relieve symptoms of depression by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain.

A common myth?

However, it is important to note that depression is a complex condition that can result from multiple factors. Serotonin is only one piece of the puzzle and there are other factors such as genetic, environmental and psychosocial factors that may also play a role. An article in Nature Molecular Psychiatry brings new evidence. "A systematic review of studies on serotonin levels in people with depression found no evidence that depressed people had lower serotonin levels or abnormal serotonin activity compared to non-depressed people."

The study's authors, Joanna Moncrieff and Mark Horowitz, emphasize that the notion that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance is still widely held, and that academic psychiatry has not made enough efforts to correct this public misconception. They also emphasize that their study focuses on the lack of evidence for low serotonin levels or low serotonin activities in depression and does not address the effectiveness of antidepressant drugs in clinical trials.

However, this debate has also led to the effectiveness of antidepressants being questioned. It is important to emphasize that antidepressants are not for everyone and that there are many other hypotheses about how they may help relieve symptoms of depression, such as the idea that they improve neuroplasticity or are associated with serotonergic activity in brain circuits involved in reward and mood seeking. There are also many reviews indicating that antidepressants are helpful in treating depression for some people.

However, it is also important to provide us with up-to-date and accurate information in order to make informed decisions about our health and well-being. This study shows that there is a gap between what the public knows about the causes of depression and what science actually knows. It is also important to note that treating depression should not be limited to the use of medication.

While antidepressants can be helpful for some people, there are many other approaches that can also be successful, such as using behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, life coaching, talk therapy, exercise, diet and sleep optimization or stress management techniques. It is important to work with a qualified healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for each individual.

Coaching is a form of support in which a coach helps the client achieve their goals and overcome challenges. In the case of depression, a coach can help the client understand and manage the symptoms, as well as identify and utilize the client's strengths.

An important part of coaching for depression is identifying thought and behavior patterns that make depression worse. The coach can help the client question negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts. Learning relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation or yoga, can also help relieve symptoms. Another important aspect is to help activate and resume activities and hobbies that were enjoyable before the illness. This can help increase the client's motivation and self-esteem.

It is important to emphasize that coaching is not a substitute for medical treatment. People with depression should always consult a doctor or psychotherapist. However, coaching can be a valuable adjunct to medical treatment and can help improve symptoms and improve symptoms and improve quality of life.

Recent research also speaks in favor of coaching. The team behind Modern Health has found some promising things. According to a study published in the Journal of Technology of Behavioral Science, 58% of people who started coaching with symptoms of depression report clinical improvement after at least one session. Their general well-being increased by 76%.

It's all based on previous studies that have shown that multiple sessions lead to better results. This study also found that the therapeutic alliance between clients and their coaches was as strong as between clients and their therapists in a one-to-one virtual setting. More about this in our blog article.

We can say that coaching can be a valuable support in the treatment of depression. It helps to understand and manage the symptoms, as well as to identify and use the client's strengths.

In conclusion, depression is a complex disease that can be influenced by several factors. The serotonin hypothesis is one of many theories about the causes of depression, and antidepressants that increase serotonin levels are one of many treatment options.


The serotonin theory of depression: a systematic umbrella review of the evidence | Molecular Psychiatry (nature.com)

The New Study on Serotonin and Depression Isn’t About Antidepressants (vice.com)





Sagui-Henson, S. J., Welcome Chamberlain, C. E., Smith, B. J., Li, E. J., Castro Sweet, C., & Altman, M. (in press). Understanding components of therapeutic alliance and well-being from use of a global digital mental health benefit during the COVID-19 pandemic: Longitudinal observational study. Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science.

Written by Mara Schär

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