Hari’s book comes with some impressive endorsements from the likes of Elton John, Hilary Clinton and Naomi Klein so adding my own seems somewhat pointless. However, unabashed I forge on – this is an excellently constructed, thought provoking and necessary book. As someone who has been relying on Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs, antidepressants) for the best part of the last three decades (there it is…I’m out of the closet), Lost Connections shocked me.
Hari recently spoke to a packed audience in Adelaide. He spoke engagingly and with generosity – I joked to the woman sitting next to me that we got two hours’ worth of “talk” for the price of one. He had a lot to say!
Hari elegantly synthesises all the best research and detailed discussions with experts in the field of depression and anxiety. Ultimately, the book challenges the prevailing medical dogma that depression and anxiety are caused, not by life’s circumstances, but by a chemical imbalance in the brain that can be “fixed” by adjusting that balance with SSRIs or other medications. If that were the case, Hari wonders, then why do the clear majority of people (including himself) taking SSRIs not feel better. Down the rabbit hole he plunges.
Lost Connections is not an outright rejection of medicating depression and anxiety yet he does point out the drug companies’ complicity in keeping the antidepressant industry robust – the predicted worth of the industry in 2020 is USD$16.8 billion (click on the button below to find out more). Hari’s exploration is deeper than that. He examines nine causes of depression and anxiety, all of which relate to disconnection – disconnection from meaningful work, from other people (loneliness) and from meaningful values (replaced with, what Hari terms “junk values”) and from childhood trauma, to name a few. He then looks at some different and successful treatments for depression and anxiety and proposes some solutions.
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Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER'
This amazing book will change your life' Elton John'Brilliant' Matt Haig'Wonderful' Hillary Clinton'A game-changer' Davina McCall'Brilliant for anyone wanting a better understanding of mental health' Zoe BallA radically new way of thinking about mental health. What really causes depression and anxiety – and how can we really solve them? Award-winning journalist Johann Hari suffered from depression since he was a child and started taking anti-depressants when he was a teenager. He was told that his problems were caused by a chemical imbalance in his brain. As an adult, trained in the social sciences, he began to investigate whether this was true – and he learned that almost everything we have been told about depression and anxiety is wrong.
Across the world, Hari found social scientists who were uncovering evidence that depression and anxiety are largely caused by key problems with the way we live today. Hari´s journey took him from a mind-blowing series of experiments in Baltimore, to an Amish community in Indiana, to an uprising in Berlin. Once he had uncovered nine real causes of depression and anxiety, they led him to scientists who are discovering seven very different solutions – ones that work.