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Lost Connections Book Review: Exploring the Hope and Solutions for the Depressed

Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope – by Johann Hari

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Johann Hari had a long journey through (and out of!) depression, and shares his personal findings, including his disappointment with medical options, and a focus on the external factors that lead to depression.

And that’s key to this book—while he acknowledges later in the book that there are physiological factors involved in depression, he wants to look past things we can’t change (like genes accounting for 37% of depression) or things that there may be unwanted side-effects to changing (as in the case of antidepressants, for many people), to things we genuinely can choose.

And no, it’s not a “think yourself happy” book either; rather, it looks at nine key external factorsthat a) influence depression b) can mostly be changed.

If the book has a downside, it’s that the author does tend to extrapolate his own experience a lot more than might be ideal. If SSRIs didn’t help him, they are useless, and also the only kind of antidepressant. If getting into a green space helped him, a Londoner, someone who lives in the countryside will not be depressed in the first place. And so forth. It can also be argued that he cherry-picked data to arrive at some of his pre-decided conclusions. He also misinterprets data sometimes; which is understandable; he is after all a journalist, not a scientist.

Nevertheless, he offers a fresh perspective with a lot of ideas, and whether or not we agree with them all, new ideas tend to be worth reading. And if even one of his nine ideas helps you, that’s a win.

Bottom line: if you’d like to explore the treatment of depression from a direction other than medicalization or psychotherapy, then this is will be a good book for you.

Click here to check out Lost Connections, and reforge yours!

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