Chemical Imbalance in the Brain

Is Depression Always a Chemical Imbalance?

Causes Of Depression

Many of us have always thought that the underlying cause of depression is a chemical imbalance. Well, you are not alone! An overview demonstrates that more than 80% of individuals believe compound imbalance to be the significant justification for depression. Yes, it is true that when the levels of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine or serotonin go low, it may cause depression. But it is only a part of the whole big picture. In this article, we will understand the other causes of depression.

Is Depression A Chemical Imbalance?

We have always had this question in our heads – Are anxiety and depression a chemical imbalance? With long periods of research, it has not yet been demonstrated that chemical imbalance is the main reason that can cause depression some studies revealed that decreased levels of tryptophan which is the building block of serotonin have also led to depression and other mood disorders.

The chemical imbalance theory may not capture the entire picture of the brain’s activity and how it relates to the rest of the body. Experts say that we need to look beyond serotonin levels and the underlying cause is much more complicated than that. The brain is said to be a complex computational system that comes with intricate connections and networks.

Antidepressant medications tend to target the low levels of serotonin or norepinephrine or other levels neurotransmitters. Though this has been helpful for a few while the remaining get cured possibly with both medication & counseling.

So yes, it is not just the chemical imbalance that causes depression. Even those under antidepressants continue to have symptoms like sleeping difficulty, loss of interest, or emotional numbness. Some even stop the treatment as they tend to experience some side effects that may be undesirable or uncomfortable.

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What Is The Number One Cause Of Depression?

Are you aware that social stress & emotional stress can also lead to clinical depression? You may even ask how stress can lead to depression; it doesn’t just make us feel overwhelmed it can also change our biology. Stress can trigger chemicals and hormones that can have an impact on many systems in our body. Stress can lead to changes in blood sugar, inflammation, the gut microbiome, and much more.

And especially when the body is not healthy, stress can become exaggerated and lead to chronic or higher levels of inflammation. This can eventually lead to depression. Researches even show that not everything is in your head when it comes to your mental health. we should consider the body’s health as a whole.

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1. Brain Waves

Beyond just chemicals, our brain cells tend to communicate through brain waves. Based on different activities, the speed of these waves varies. Slow brain waves have been known to be connected with major depressive disorder, feeling sad, and lack of motivation. Through neuromodulation or neurofeedback, this type of imbalance can be targeted and also encourages healthier brainwave patterns.

2. Hormones

Hormones are said to be chemicals that travel through the blood to all parts of the body, including our brain. Hormones are considered to be critical for our health and brain function and an imbalance in these hormones can lead to depression and other mood disorders. Hormonal imbalance can happen due to poor diet, stress, aging, and inflammation.

3. Gut-Brain Axis

The Gut is considered the second brain as it carries a network of neurotransmitters and nerve cells. Gut health when disrupted can impact the way we feel and think. Our 70% of the immune system is entirely based on the Gut; when our immune system feels a breach in the integrity of the Gut lining, it leads to inflammation.

The Link Between Your Mind & Food

Food is considered to be more than just energy for the brain. It stands as a building block for our brain cells and neurotransmitters and also serves as antioxidants to protect against inflammation. So there is indeed a great link between our mental health and the food that we eat. A review of the medical literature says that consuming some healthy food like leafy greens, seafood, and cruciferous vegetables was found to be most helpful in recovering and preventing depression.


Many risk factors tend to play a role in the bigger picture of depression. We need to use a much bigger lens, to understand and see beyond just the brain but to other body systems & their complex interactions. So yes, there can be many possible reasons for depression; it can be beyond just chemical imbalances which mean there are many opportunities as well to get healed.


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