‘Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression–and the Unexpected Solutions’ by Johann Hari

“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it is connection.”

Bestselling author of Chasing the Scream, Johann Hari offers a radical new way of thinking about depression and anxiety. In recent years, the prevailing way of thinking about these problems was that they were caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. But after years on antidepressants himself, he wondered why they weren’t working and he began to seek a more complex and truthful story about the causes and treatment of depression and anxiety. The answers were not to be found in the pills taken or the substances abused, but in the very pain that was being avoided.

A doctor once told Hari, “You need your nausea. It is a message. It will tell us what is wrong with you.” His research uncovered evidence that was hugely compelling because it pointed to areas of disconnection in people’s lives. In no way does Hari minimise clinical depression as a serious illness that people may need medication for. On the contrary, he looks more deeply into the complexity of what may be going on and comes to see that the definition of antidepressant needs to be expanded beyond a prescription to include lifestyle changes that increase connection with others, with the natural world, and with meaningful work. It’s in the same vein as realising that one of the most effective ways of dealing with loneliness is to help someone else.

This book has something for everyone. Reviews of this book are filled with grateful personal testimonies. Hari’s writing style is easy to read while presenting extensive research findings. He thinks deeply and talks engagingly about complex questions in an approachable manner. He says something profound about the individualistic trends in our society and gives hope for a healthier future. Human connections are key, not only to our social and psychological health, but to our physical health as well.

Here is Johann Hari in a TED talk about addiction, which is what his book Chasing the Scream is about. Well worth 15 min of your time:

 

4 responses to “‘Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression–and the Unexpected Solutions’ by Johann Hari

  1. Nancy Wickham

    Thank you for including this one Joanne. I read Chasing the Screaming which was both disturbing and disheartening. The TED talk that you included highlights the compelling accessibility to his approach to his research. I’ll put this ‘on the list’.

    • Hi Nancy, Always great hearing from you. How are you? Still trying to get to your neck of the woods sometime, would love to look you up…Just curious what did you find disturbing in Chasing the Scream? I haven’t read that one yet. I found Lost Connections very hopeful and encouraging, hope you do too. Cheers, Joanne

  2. Just saw this note while walking to Barnes and Noble to try to find Mr Doubler Begins Again. I love your reviews Joanne and please know if you’re ever on the west coast of Florida you’ll find a warm (actually, right now, a quite hot) welcome. As far as Chasing the Scream, yes, it was provocative in the most essential meaning of that word. I recommend it often but the message is so radical it often falls on deaf ears. Can’t wait for the Reichl review, her books are wonderful even if they make me hungry!

    • Good to know, I’ve not read any other Reichl books but am enjoying this one so far. I love books with recipes!:) Missed opportunity, we were in Florida in February, somehow I thought you were living in New York! Oh well, next time! Thanks for your kind words. Let me know if you read something amazing that I should know about!

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