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GentleSteps

"Lost Connections" by Johann Hari

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GentleSteps

This book looks to be an interesting read, on depression, anxiety, the DSM diagnostic model, critiques of the "chemical imbalance" theory and the actual (in)effectiveness and even harms of antidepressants.

 

This link is to interview clips on the book's website.  Among the interviewees: Dr. David Healy, Joanna Moncrieff, John Joannides, Prof. Irving Kirsch and Dr. Guy Sapirstein (meta-study re antidepressants as/less effective than placebo) and defenders of SSRIs like Peter Kramer as well.  https://thelostconnections.com/the-interviews/

 

I haven't heard of Hari but he is described as a "best-selling NY Times author."  It will be interesting to see the effect of views familiar to many on SA ripple to this author's presumably quite wide audience.

 

Discovered after I read the book's website that Hari has a bit of a history as a journalist - plagiarism got him fired from a job as a columnist not too long ago, among other issues.  Relevant article from The Guardian here: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jan/02/johann-hari-interview-drugs-book-independent.

 

 

 

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GentleSteps

Johann Hari: a brief interview with Tucker Carlson (Fox).  Except for Carlson making an off-hand remark that "well, there are some chemical imbalances" it's good to see Hari's book receiving wide publicity.

 

(Hat tip to BB, where I found this.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89kSjxm_MQM&list=PLlTLHnxSVuIzrARlmz9oCfQEF08UV-v-E&index=2

 

 

 

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Kristine
16 minutes ago, GentleSteps said:

Johann Hari: a brief interview with Tucker Carlson (Fox).  Except for Carlson making an off-hand remark that "well, there are some chemical imbalances" it's good to see Hari's book receiving wide publicity.

 

(Hat tip to BB, where I found this.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89kSjxm_MQM&list=PLlTLHnxSVuIzrARlmz9oCfQEF08UV-v-E&index=2

 

Excellent, GS...couldn't agree more! Think I'll have to buy his book! Thank you for posting this. K xo

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Shep

I read the book and would highly recommend it, however, not to everyone. This book doesn't go anywhere near the level of expertise of the harm these drugs cause as say, Robert Whitaker (Hari is a social investigative reporter not a science reporter like Whitaker).  And, in some ways, Hari comes across as an apologist for big pharma and psychiatry because he says he doesn't have anything against ADs and says "we should keep them on the menu of ways to deal with depression". 

 

So if you're interested in a book that validates your own experience with withdrawal and want to focus exclusively on that aspect, you may find this book a frustrating read - it's only 10% on the drugs and 90% on alternatives. He provides a list of the things that can cause depression but the iatrogenic aspects (i.e. harm caused by the drugs themselves) are completely left out.

 

That being said, the book is a great read for the social and political aspects of this epidemic. The book is very powerful and not only has Hari appeared on Fox (the link that GentleSteps got from Benzo Buddies), but he's also appeared on Democracy Now. He may be the first investigative reporter to appear on both a right-wing conservative news show and a left-wing progressive news show saying that the chemical imbalance theory of antidepressants is a lie. 

 

And for that, he deserves recognition. In a very politically polarizing world, he has brought this truth to both sides, proving a great point he makes in the book - we are all in this together.

 

Here's his Democracy Now interview, which went longer than the show, so Amy Goodman added a second part. Very much worth a look. 

 

Democracy Now - Johann Hari on How the “Junk Values” of Neoliberalism Drive Depression and Anxiety in the U.S. - PART ONE

 

Democracy Now: Johann Hari: To Treat Depression, Provide Meaningful Work, Housing & a Basic Income, Not Just Drugs - PART TWO

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GentleSteps

Hi Shep,

 

Thank you for posting the links to Amy Goodman's interview!

 

It is heartening to see Hari's point that community and connection are the real antidotes to depression receiving coverage across the spectrum of the mainstream media.

 

His is quite a radical challenge to the atomistic ("it's all down to individuals") models that underpin the strategies of Drug Companies and Psychiatrists, and the economic-political system that thrives on this atomization.

 

I heard recently that Thich Nhat Hahn said that the next Buddha (after Maitreya) will be Sangha.

 

It's always wonderful reading your insightful and incredibly well written posts Shep.

 

Thanks again,

 

GS  

 

 

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Shep
19 hours ago, GentleSteps said:

I heard recently that Thich Nhat Hahn said that the next Buddha (after Maitreya) will be Sangha.

 

Thanks for continuing to add to this thread, GentleSteps.

 

I wasn't sure what this meant, but I was curious so I looked it up:

 

The Next Buddha Will Be a Sangha..

 

The only Tibetan thangka that I own is one of Maitreya – the future Buddha.  The basis of Kalachakra Tantra is the notion of an enlightened society.  Vidyadhara said that Maitreya, the future Buddha, would not be an individual, but a society.

Thich Nhat Hanh did a calligraphy that says in English:  THE NEXT BUDDHA WILL BE A SANGHA.

 

This is a beautiful thought and right in line with what Hari is saying.

 

If you haven't read his first book, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, it's a great read. Here's Hari's TedTalk about it:

 

Johann Hari - Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong video (15 minutes)

 

We are definitely in need of a Sangha. 

Edited by Shep

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GentleSteps

Ah - thank you for looking up the source and finding the accurate reference ... that Maitreya will be the Sangha Buddha.  It's a beautiful quotation.  I am so happy you found it and offered it up!

 

Yes, we are in need of a Sangha (or Sanghas) - a broad one that reaches beyond a meditation cushion or hall.

 

Thank you for the reference to the previous book by Hari.  It is on my reading list for a time when I'm able to absorb the painful content with more equanimity! 

 

GS

 

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TikkiTikki

I've been reading the book and find it very helpful – the idea that many experiences of depression and anxiety are a natural response to psychological needs being unmet is I think very powerful. That some of us have a greater genetic or biological susceptibility or reactivity to these social/psychological factors – I also concur.

 

I've long thought depression/anxiety are a fairly rational response to modern life and the modern world, and Hari's book details the how and why of it. 

 

 

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