Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression—and the Unexpected Solutions

Johann Hari. Bloomsbury, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-1-63286-830-5
Journalist Hari (Chasing the Scream) explores common causes of anxiety and depression in contemporary society, proposing that antidepressants do not address the true nature of the problem. Critiquing the chemical-imbalance theory of depression as an idea sponsored by the self-interested pharmaceutical industry, he quotes one psychologist as saying, “The symptoms [of depression] are a messenger of a deeper problem.” Hari interviews numerous psychologists who explain how factors such as loneliness, work-based dissatisfaction, and consumer culture can fuel mental-health issues. Chasing possible solutions to these problems, Hari’s research takes him throughout the world. He stops in a Berlin housing project where tenants waged a yearlong protest against rising rents, fostering a sense of empowerment and unity among themselves. He also visits a London mental-health clinic where doctors prescribe community volunteer projects instead of pills and a Baltimore bicycle shop that uses a nonhierarchical workplace to give employees a sense of having a voice in the business. Hari aims to demonstrate that the feelings of depression and anxiety experienced by individuals are symptomatic of a larger societal ailment that must be addressed. He makes a good case for this theory, supplying the reader with overwhelming (and engrossing) evidence, though his preferred solutions are somewhat grandiose and utopian. Agent: Peter Robinson, Rogers, Coleridge & White (U.K.) (Jan. 2018)
Reviewed on: 07/24/2017
Release date: 01/23/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-63286-831-2
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