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  • Lost Connections

  • Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - and the Unexpected Solutions
  • By: Johann Hari
  • Narrated by: Johann Hari
  • Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (4,162 ratings)

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Lost Connections cover art

Lost Connections

By: Johann Hari
Narrated by: Johann Hari
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Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of Chasing the Scream, a radically new way of thinking about depression and anxiety.

What really causes depression and anxiety - and how can we really solve them? Award-winning journalist Johann Hari suffered from depression since he was a child and started taking antidepressants when he was a teenager. He was told that his problems were caused by a chemical imbalance in his brain. As an adult, trained in the social sciences, he began to investigate whether this was true - and he learned that almost everything we have been told about depression and anxiety is wrong.

Across the world, Hari found social scientists who were uncovering evidence that depression and anxiety are not caused by a chemical imbalance in our brains. In fact, they are largely caused by key problems with the way we live today. Hari's journey took him from a mind-blowing series of experiments in Baltimore, to an Amish community in Indiana, to an uprising in Berlin.

Once he had uncovered nine real causes of depression and anxiety, they led him to scientists who are discovering seven very different solutions - ones that work. It is an epic journey that will change how we think about one of the biggest crises in our culture today.

©2018 Johann Hari (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Lost Connections

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Don't buy if you have depression and no support.

Very interesting read, possibly for people trying to understand the disease. But this book has made me more depressed.
The author talks about how you need a support system to help you manage your mental health, so as someone who has no one this book made me feel like I will never recover.

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251 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

One mans story

Although a lot of hard graft has gone into this book. And we’re all looking for a simple solution. This book, if taken seriously, will cause some truly ill people a false sense of hope.

It’s concerning that those in a dark period may adhere to the subjective advice and ruin their life.

It’s true, doctors to hand out pills to too many who are not clinically disabled through depression.

Having witnessed a family member commit suicide and her father fighting depression, his medication is keeping him balanced and alive.

One time he had a church tell him he was cured through their prayer meeting. The very next day he was in a police cell due to the consequences of not taking his medication for depression.

The change from the original diagnosis after taking medication enabled him to live a full life. Due to stopping his meds’ he lost his home, wife and children.

Read the book, but please do not put blind faith into one mans misdiagnosis. It’s not an exact science, though it is a life saving one. My brother is still alive today, only because of medical intervention.

I too wrote off big pharma as snake oil. Yet here in England the research by NICE and the university’s is deep and thorough.

The book could cause unintentional and unneeded suffering.

A good support network, though great as it is, everyone has an opinion, everyone reads the latest on the internet, the latest greatest book of the moment. Meanwhile the poor person suffering from depression gets more confused and being vulnerable will try to pleasing everyone’s opinion whilst in internal agony.

It’s an enjoyable read but one mans misdiagnosis has to be seen as a subjective opinion of what the authors bias is.

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177 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Journalist explores his own psychological pain

An interesting attempt to identify some of the economic and social contexts of psychological distress, and to think through ways of creating a world less toxic to our well-being.

However, he does this by setting up straw men to knock down. He makes much of medicine’s belief in a chemical imbalance theory of depression (which will seem alien to most of those who work in the field), whilst also reporting that psychiatrists have for decades proposed alternative models which attend to the person’s social, psychological, and physical situations.

There is a clear association between housing, jobs, environments, politics and mental ill health, but these aren’t things that are easily changed in the surgery or therapy room.

I thought the early section on medication was dreadful. Quite shockingly bad. I can’t see his footnotes on Audible, but he appears to rely entirely on two very critical writers, both interesting and challenging though they are, but without any effort to explore other researchers, other evidence, or other conclusions. That’s polemic, not journalism. He doesn’t even describe the critical literature on the distorting role of drug companies research, not that all research is undertaken by Big Pharma.

Considering this is a book about anxiety and depression, it seems odd that he doesn’t actually define what these highly complicated things might be, except in so far as they may relate to our evolutionary history.

What a mixed up, interesting, disappointing book.

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120 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Let down by a very poor last third

I bought this on the recent Audible Deal and thought that it might help with my anxiety and depression.

I enjoyed Part 1 (why anti depressants shouldn't be given as much as they are and don't actually appear to have benefits for most people, but do have side effects) and Part 2 (what are the causes of depression if its not a chemical imbalance and what can we do that might work better). Both parts had scientific research and experts quoted. However, Part 3 (lost connections?) was a pretty rambling, unfocused waffle which went on at great length about a German housing group's issues and other tales (like using psychedelics) which had little - if any - scientific backing for the conclusions he came to. He would tend to have someone say "this could be of benefit" and run with that as though it was the greatest cure even though it was one person's opinion on (usually) one and only one example, the efficacy of which was frequently subjective. By the end of Part 3, I was fed up of listening to Johann and could understand a previous comment about him having a leftist agenda as it felt to me that this part was using very sketchy at best evidence to support his beliefs and world view.

Pros:
Part 1 provided interesting information as to how drug companies have manipulated trial information and the system to get their drugs on the market when they show little benefit but have been shown to cause harm. I found this enlightening.

Part 2 provided a good list of possible social and environmental causes and what you can do to improve your symptoms. I think I will listen to this again.

Part 2 had a lot of direct references by the people he'd interviewed and a lot of facts and figures (as did part 1)
Parts 1 & 2 had a lot of quoted scientific evidence

Cons:
Narrator: Johann Hari shouldn't have narrated this himself. He's not a professional and it shows. At times he was poor and by the end I was sick of his melancholy voice.

Swearing. There wasn't a lot, but why was it needed at all? It might be quoting someone, but it was jarring and really put me off.

Mealtimes: I don't want to know what Johann was eating when he was interviewing someone. Might be his "chummy" writing style but I really don't care about it and it's not why I got the book. He was always saying what he was eating.

Overly Personalised: Some elements (most of Part 3 was guilty of this) were much too personalised and his own journey with AD's coloured his perception too much and biased his opinions too clearly. For instance, there are many side effects to AD's, but he focused on weight gain as it was the major one for him. Not a mention of suicidal or angry mood swings for instance which are much more devastating. I also read this book with no idea who the author was. Part way through Part 3 I was asking myself "what has any of this stuff about a gay bar have to do with depression?" and later wondered what the tale about the guy who wanted gay marriage had to do with it. I now know that he is gay and I guess that's why he felt I needed to know what the gay bar owner's other clubs were called in a book on depression.

CBT: In part 3 in just one sentence he dismisses CBT saying "there isn't any evidence that it is of benefit to people with depression" (or words to that effect), which a very quick and cursory Google shows is utter nonsense. If that was the case, then why does the NHS advocate it? I've just spent a month studying the efficacy of CBT and I know his flippant claim to be untrue and it makes me concerned about the rest of his claims.

Metaphors: At times the metaphors he used made me cringe.

Bookending: The first chapter struck me as irrelevant and I wondered why it was included. I found out at the end of the book it was so he could refer back to a single line in that chapter (listen to your body and don't mask it) at the end. It felt contrived... like too much of the book.

In summary, had I stopped reading the book at the end of part 2, then I would have rated it much higher. Part 3 seemed to be a waste of my life and a fairly desperate attempt to make the points he wanted despite the lack of compelling evidence for his views.

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85 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

#lifechanger 🙏🏻💗🙏🏻💗

After winning my first ever award from Audible (listening to the most books) for my ongoing search to quieten my constant internal chatter by having audible play through the night consistently for the past 1 1/2 years I have finally found the answer to my misery! This book is a must for anyone with a busy & beautiful mind.

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47 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • dc
  • 02-08-18

Well Argued.

In comparison to Chasing the Scream it’s not as interesting a story. However, Johann makes an eloquent argument for changing the way we see and treat depression. Although nothing in this book is particularly new to me (I’m in the healthcare field) he does a good job of pulling the strands together. My only real criticism is he spends too little time directly quoting his interviewees and too much time on his analysis of what they have said. I think it would have been stronger to let their statements speak for themselves the the listener draw their own conclusions.

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32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Highly recommended.

I was wary of listening to this book as I am always wary of simplistic “answers” to depression and anxiety. But this was not that. It is a beautifully put together, well researched, considerate and open minded look at anxiety and depression. I found it interesting from an intellectual perspective, enlightening and reassuring from a personal perspective. Highly recommended.

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32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

Well worth a read / listen if you suffer from or have suffered with anxiety and or depression. At some points I felt somewhat despondent because my parameters to change are narrow but I'm glad I perservered. This book gives you hope, a new perspective and something to work with. Fantastic work.

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24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Ok but not life changing

Starts off well but meanders. It won’t change your life or clear your depression but it’ll pass a few hours telling you what you suspected all along.

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20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Sentiment is worthy but not cohesive

Johann Hari has delved into the world of depression and psychiatry, revealing his own battles with the condition and attempting to debunk approaches towards mental health. His intentions are worthy as it is a dense topic of discussion, and absolutely essential, but unfortunately Hari only focuses on one side.

His views on overprescription are completely accurate as many mental health professionals have a tendency to equate behaviour as a science, therefore looking towards traditional methods of treatment. However, his views that depression is totally reactive to environment is incorrect as many with other serious conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar, would have "endogenous" depression ie. where something goes wrong in the brain.

Much of this book concentrates on the disconnection from vital human requirements such as neighbourliness, professional fulfillment, acknowledgement of trauma and so on. His approach suggests that reconnecting may help the malaise. While I agree with half of his argument, others may find it oversimplified. But no doubt we do need a more compassionate attitude towards mental health.

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18 people found this helpful