Title: Lost Connections
Author: Johann Hari
Category: Non-fiction, Psychology
10-word summary: Depression is caused by your life, not just your brain.
About Lost Connections
Lost Connections is a book that wants to challenge the idea that depression is caused just by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Johann Hari suffered from depression himself for over 10 years and tried to treat it with antidepressants – with little success. In this book he explores 9 other causes of depression.
He interviewed many people across the world about their personal experiences or their research to learn more about what else could cause depression. He illustrates how these 9 causes he identified could contribute to depression. His entire book wants to make us realize that depression is not caused just by our brains, but by the way we live. And our remedies should not attempt to change our brain chemistry, but to help us live our lives in a better way.
Lessons from Lost Connections
Even though the idea that depression is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain has been around for a while, we should still question it.
The people who take antidepressants often become depressed again.
There are many things in our culture that can contribute to depression such as our individuality, loneliness, materialism and more.
The 9 causes of depression discussed in the book are: disconnection from meaningful work, disconnection from other people, disconnection from meaningful values, disconnection from childhood trauma, disconnection from status and respect, disconnection from the natural world, disconnection from a hopeful and secure future, genes, brain changes.
When we pursue extrinsic goals, we feel little or no satisfaction when we achieve them. But when we pursue intrinsic goals, they make us feel happier and less depressed.
If our depression is caused by our environments and the way we live, then our treatment needs to focus on these things. There is no point in using antidepressants if nothing else changes in our lives.
What I like about Lost Connections
1. It offers a different and interesting perspective on depression
2. It makes us question how we live our lives and what our societies focus on and believe in
3. It is easy to read
4. It is partly science-based
What I don’t like about Lost Connections
1. The book gives no practical advice
2. It has too many stories for my taste
3. It reads more like a newspaper article and less like a non-fiction book
4. It could have relied more on scientific data
5. The book claims to be about depression and anxiety, but I think it only focuses on depression
Quotes from Lost Connections
“If you believe that your depression is due solely to a broken brain, you don’t have to think about your life, or about what anyone might have done to you. The belief that it all comes down to biology protects you, in a way, for a while.”
“The thing is that we are animals. We keep forgetting that.”
“We have been animals that move for a lot longer than we have been animals that talk and convey concepts.”
“There’s no point in using antidepressants if nothing has changed, so that when they come off the antidepressant they’re still in the same place they were before…Something’s got to change, or you’re going to go back.”
“Once you understand that depression is to a significant degree a collective problem caused by something that’s gone wrong in our culture, it becomes obvious that the solutions have to be – to a significant degree – collective, too.”
Should You Read Lost Connections?
Read this book if you are depressed or unhappy. It will make you think about depression in a different, more holistic way. It will make you reflect on your own life and help you realize what you may need to change.
You should also read this book if you want to understand depression. If someone close to you suffers from it, this book might help you better understand what could cause their suffering and you might be able to better support them.
But sadly, this book does not offer any solutions, remedies or advice. So don’t expect to read this book and find ways to overcome your depression. However, the ideas in the book can point you in the right direction – but it’s up to you to find a way to implement those lessons.
I think that Lost Connections is a good book if you want to better understand depression. It changed the way I think about it and I’m really glad I got to read it!