I must confess something at the outset: this is the longest I have taken to finish a book this year. And it’s not on account of its verbosity or the complexity of its content, but because of its provocative nature. Johann Hari’s Lost Connections is an important read. It attempts to draw a comprehensive picture of the various aspects of anxiety and depression as they are viewed today, without resorting to esoteric language, medical jargon or indulging in pain porn.
Hari takes the reader on an organic and evolving journey in this book and explains how the cause of anxiety and depression is not just a serotonin imbalance in the brain, but also psychological and social factors related to a person’s environment which are often excluded from conversations surrounding mental illness. He argues that antidepressants are not the answer, and cites enough evidence available in the public domain that shows the efficacy of these increasingly prescribed pills to be at par or even lesser than a person’s natural ability to heal. He touches upon nine overarching causes that he has identified, based on his research and his conversation with some of the leading names in the field. And then he goes on to outline possible solutions – a few pragmatic and a few outlandish – to fight these nine causes.
He is passionate and honest in his writing; his sincerity is something I could relate to and is a product of the anger he feels at having taken medication for all those years, without any kind of an alternative explanation or solution being made available. His book is stunning in its scope and attempting to cover any of the points he makes in isolation and without context would be doing a grave injustice. The dog-eared pages (something I absolutely despise doing) of my copy sit in front of me as I ponder over all that I have read over the last few weeks. I wonder if buying this on my Kindle would have made more sense 🙂