Is Social Anxiety Making Us Depressed?: A Social Evolutionary Hypothesis for Why SSRIs Work

Kerr, Laura K.
March 2008
Ethical Human Psychology & Psychiatry;2008, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p16
Academic Journal
In the developed world, the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) has skyrocketed since 1988, when Prozac was first released in the United States. Biomedical psychiatry's explanation for their success is an unsubstantiated hypothesis that claims SSRIs treat a chemical imbalance in people who suffer from low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Using social evolutionary theory, this article provides an alternative hypothesis for why SSRIs work for some people. SSRIs' success is attributed to their capacity to adapt people to the increased status anxiety occurring in developed nations grappling with the effects of unprecedented global competition. Biomedical psychiatry is depicted as adjusting patients to prevailing social norms rather than contributing to mental health.


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