Depression is a choice, not a chemical imbalance in the brain. As such an individual suffering from depression has the ability to be cured if they choose to be responsible.

Discussing problems not associated with brain damage or injury.

See also link for Happiness.

There seems to be a propensity in our culture to look for negative behaviors or groups of behaviors and then assign them a label as a "disease." In fact there are leading academics which decry this trend.

"Research has yet to identify specific biological causes for any of these [mental] disorders. Mental disorders are classified on the basis of symptoms because there are as yet no biological markers or laboratory tests for them.¨

The U.S. Congress Office of Technology"


"...modern psychiatry has yet to convincingly prove the genetic/biologic cause of any single mental illness...Patients [have] been diagnosed with 'chemical imbalances' despite the fact that no test exists to support such a claim, and... there is no real conception of what a correct chemical balance would look like. Yet conclusions such as depression is a chemical imbalance are created out of nothing more than semantics and the wishful thinking of scientist/psychiatrists and a public who will believe anything now that has the stamp of approval of medical science.¨

David Kaisler


2001 UPDATE:
"Remember that no biochemical, neurological, or genetic markers have been found for attention deficit disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, compulsive alcohol and drug abuse, overeating, gambling, or any other so-called mental illness, disease, or disorder." Bruce Levine, Ph.D. (psychologist), Commonsense Rebellion: Debunking Psychiatry, Confronting Society (Continuum, New York 2001), p. 277.

And this:

"The designation disease can only be justified when the cause can be related to a demonstrable anatomical lesion, infection, or some other physiological defect. As there is no such evidence for any mental disorder, the term disease is a misnomer; in fact, it is fraudulent.

Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus
State University of New York,
Author of 25 books"


More about Szasz here:

To see some more recent writings:


"Contemporary neuroscience research has failed to confirm any serotonergic lesion in any mental disorder, and has in fact provided significant counterevidence to the explanation of a simple neurotransmitter deficiency. Modern neuroscience has instead shown that the brain is vastly complex and poorly understood [11]. While neuroscience is a rapidly advancing field, to propose that researchers can objectively identify a “chemical imbalance” at the molecular level is not compatible with the extant science. In fact, there is no scientifically established ideal “chemical balance” of serotonin, let alone an identifiable pathological imbalance. To equate the impressive recent achievements of neuroscience with support for the serotonin hypothesis is a mistake."

"Reasoning backwards, from SSRI efficacy to presumed serotonin deficiency, is thus highly contested. The validity of this reasoning becomes even more unlikely when one considers recent studies that even call into question the very efficacy of the SSRIs. Irving Kirsch and colleagues, using the Freedom of Information Act, gained access to all clinical trials of antidepressants submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the pharmaceutical companies for medication approval. When the published and unpublished trials were pooled, the placebo duplicated about 80% of the antidepressant response [13]; 57% of these pharmaceutical company–funded trials failed to show a statistically significant difference between antidepressant and inert placebo [14]. A recent Cochrane review suggests that these results are inflated as compared to trials that use an active placebo [15]. This modest efficacy and extremely high rate of placebo response are not seen in the treatment of well-studied imbalances such as insulin deficiency, and casts doubt on the serotonin hypothesis."



And there is this:

"ADHD is Not Caused by a Dopamine Over-Production in the Brain

While some studies assert (but cannot prove) that an over-production of dopamine is a cause of ADHD (Lancet study reported in The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2000), this is extremely misleading: Brain scans and tests to confirm ADHD have never been done on "drug naive" patients; i.e., the tests have been done on subjects who were either on psychotropic drugs, or had previously been on psychotropic drugs, both of which can alter brain chemistry.

Pediatric Neurologist Fred Baughman clarifies this point: "Researchers from Harvard and Boston Life Sciences' studied a mere 6 adult subjects 'diagnosed' with ADHD who were on drug treatment until 4 weeks prior to the brain scanning which was said to show the chemical imbalance. The researchers and Lancet editors know as well as I, that the drugs their subjects were on until a month before scanning, cause long-term, even permanent, changes of the brain, and that the changes reported could not be claimed to be [anything] other than drug-induced.¨

Dr. Fred Baughman points to a review of braining scanning by a Dr. Swanson, collaborating with F. Xavier Castellanos of NIMH. He said, They concluded that the brains of ADHD subjects were 10% smaller than those of normals, and claimed this as proof that ADHD is a brain disease. What Swanson failed to acknowledge was the fact that virtually all of the ADHD subjects had been on long-term Ritalin treatment, and that this was the likely cause of the brain smallness. Swanson did acknowledge this fact, immediately thereafter, when I made the point from the audience. Castellanos acknowledged, in an interview published in the January, 2000, Reader's Digest that Incontrovertible evidence (that ADHD is a disease) is still lacking,¨ and also that these smaller areas of the brain could be the result of stimulant treatment:¨


These and other articles point to the possibility that the drugs themselves could be causing the chemical imbalances. Also there is a possibility that the mental states are causing the imbalances in chemicals.

After all we already know that meditation (a volitional mental activity) can change brainwave patterns. So the scientists have it backwards as far as cause and effect.