For 13 years, British author Johann Hari says he took the maximum possible dose of antidepressants. In Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Cause of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions, Hari draws from his personal experience to challenge how depression and anxiety are understood in society, particularly in the West.
“There are plenty of people who were, like me, taking chemical antidepressants and they didn’t help,” says Hari. “This isn’t an argument for or against chemical antidepressants, it’s an argument for expanding what we think of as an antidepressant.”
Spending more time in nature, enjoying work and building lasting relationships are some of the cultural and societal solutions Hari says need to be considered as part of treatment for depression and anxiety.
“Nobody denies that there are social and psychological causes of depression and anxiety,” says Hari, “but that has not informed most of how we respond to these problems.”
“I think part of the cruellest thing we’ve done is, we’ve put the onus for solving this problem onto depressed and anxious people,” says Hari.