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No basis to chemical imbalance theory

I refer to the article “A persistent social crisis that is not all in our heads”, in which some of my thoughts were mentioned (Irish Examiner, September 21).

In this article, psychiatrist Dr John Hillary, director of communications of the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland, says: “I don’t believe the chemical-imbalance theory is still widely believed in Ireland”.

Dr Hillary is incorrect. During talks I have given on mental health, in recent weeks, 90% of audience members had been told that brain-chemical imbalances (eg serotonin) are a feature of depression.

Dr Hillary has not been in communication with his psychiatry colleagues at the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI).

On October 29, 2014, as part of their MiniMed public lecture series, the RCSI issued a tweet: “Mental-health difficulties are chemical imbalances in your brain — it’s not as simple as saying ‘I’m not feeling great’.”

Since no such chemical imbalances have ever been identified, such assertions constitute misinformation. I have pointed this out to the RCSI and asked them to withdraw this unfounded claim. I have yet to receive a response.

Dr Terry Lynch

Wolfe Tone Street



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