My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am not exaggerating when I say that this may be one of the most important books on mental health that I’ve ever read.
Author Johann Hari challenges the “brain chemistry” model of depression treatment by examining not only the biological but also the social and environmental aspects of depression. His hypothesis, proven out in various milieux, is that people with depression are suffering from a lack of connection. The cultural emphasis on individuality makes it easier to emphasize the need to “fix it yourself” rather than considering that one’s depression may be an entirely normal response to a bad situation. When the DSM states that any grief going beyond a mere two weeks should be considered complicated and thus the bereaved should consider medication, we have a social problem.
Hari visits numerous cultures and cities to look at how different locales treat depression with something other than a pill. While Hari acknowledges that there is sometimes a biological component (e.g., hypothyroidism causes depression), oftentimes meds are treated as the sole answer rather than a temporary hand-up to deal with disconnection from friends, the outdoors, or even one’s intrinsic values.
Well worth the time to read.
This is a lengthy presentation by author Johann Hari, but it may also be of use to my readers.