Antidepressants Can’t Fix a Broken World

Mar 27, 2018

One in every five Americans are taking antidepressants. Prescribed by psychiatrists who assure us they’re correcting a chemical imbalance, antidepressants are so prevalent that when the water supply is tested it’s found to be laced with drugs. My guest today was taking them for thirteen years with very mixed results and travelled the world to understand why.

In his new book Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression —and the Unexpected Solutions British journalist Johann Hari disputes the theory that the sole cause of depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain and instead attributes the roots of many people’s depression to common factors such as loneliness, the modern workplace, the internet, and the loss of community.

In his bestselling book Chasing the Scream and in a wildly popular TED Talk called Everything You Know About Addiction is Wrong, Johann tells us that it’s not the addictive power of drugs that stokes the addicts’ cravings it’s the absence of fulfilling lives. In his new book he casts his net much farther than drug addiction and reckons that it’s what we’re missing in today’s world that’s making so many of us depressed.