Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions

Maybe somewhat off-topic - though recently we have seen quite a number of people who appear to have been prescribed anti-depressants before, as well as, or instead of the essential thyroid hormones. So it has some relevance.

As this is a new book, I have no idea if things like thyroid issues and B12 deficiency are included. We can hope so though, even if they are not, it might be of interest.

The serious questioning of the use of anti-depressants, even the diagnosis of depression, is to be welcomed.

Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?

In this extract from his new book, Johann Hari, who took antidepressants for 14 years, calls for a new approach


Amazon listing:


Amazon reviews of his previous book - Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs - seem to endorse the author:


This is absolutely not meant to encourage anyone to buy the book. Just to let you know it exists.

29 Replies

Looks like a good read, thanks helvella!

Fascinating, thanks for the link.

I’m sure I read somewhere (can’t remember where now!) that the reason antidepressants seem to work initially is that they raise adrenaline levels. Until the body self regulates it down again, of course.

But I could have dreamt that, I s’pose. I was probably on Prozac at the time. :)


Ironically, severe "side effects" like suicidal ideation are reported to be more likely to occur in the early weeks.

And, given they have no idea which anti-depressant will work for any individual, those early weeks can be repeated again and again as different products are tried. With no promise of any of them ever working.

Depressing, isn’t it?

(And would you believe, I wrote that before realising what I’d written :) )


I would. Sort of thing I could so easily do myself. :-)

Still, we needed a bit of leavening.

I like the sound of this - thanks for posting Helvella

A very interesting article! Many thanks for the link.

Thanks for posting that.

I read the Guardian article last night and he's got all this about how people hate their work because they have no control. Yesterday I was also listening to Chris Hedges interviewing Noam Chomsky: we have wage slavery going on these days. People do not have security and must spend an inordinate amount of time at a meaningless daily grind without having a balance in life with cultural and social outlets.

Interestingly, Chomsky was saying that there is a lot of worker unrest in China plus rising wages, which, because the USA is fracking and obtaining cheap energy, factories are moving back to the USA.

Apparently your government wants to frack the British Isles to death as well. That's how Brexit is supposed to make Britain great again.

Johann Hari also has a TED lecture about addiction. Some of what he had to say also applies to depression.

Here in France they just look forward to their two hour long lunch and Monday's off as well.

It keeps everyone happy!

Very interesting article . Thank you for posting the link .

Evening all,

Today, the Guardian has another article which to a considerable extent attacks the author of the article I posted about!

Do continue through at least some of the comments...


BadHare Jazzw TSH110 Yulia2010 Christabel gabkad Bunnyjean TJc64

Ah. Well, that’s different. :)

Comments are indeed interesting. So - we’re back to “no one has a clue really” then...

Thanks again, helvella!

I'm still with Hari (& also Prof. Healy) being anti-anti-depressant. I don't know anyone who takes this c**p & hasn't had serious side effects or remains addicted.

The "trick cyclists" running our mental health services are trained only in using these meds as a hammer, therefore everybody they see looks like a nail. I feel this runs parallel to the lack of medical knowledge with regard to treating thyroid related illnesses, & it seems issues such as PA, too. How many more health issues are mistreated or controlled by pharmaceuticals & badly trained medical personnel?

I tend to agree. I mean, antidepressants do help some - that’s clear. But I think the reason they help is very unclear. And the prescribing of them for everything from chronic pain to mania - well. Surely far more about Big Pharma profits than investigating the cause of ill health.

The few people I know who claim they help are unable to come off them, so their intended short term use is farcical, yet they're not considered as addictive by those handing them out like sweeties.

This is disturbing reading:


Further apologies for the repeat!

BadHare it also galls me they can be dished out so easily with unclear evidence as to what they really do to the recipients yet tried and tested thyroid hormone replacement therapies namely T3 and NDT are denied to those that want to try them, given their known efficacy in reducing or eliminating depression in those of us with hypothyroidism who do not do well on T4 monotherapy. Medicine gone mad.

Thanks Helvella. I ponder the fact that my depression was definitely a chemical imbalance caused by untreated hypothyroidism and wonder how many others this applies to who are rapidly offered antidepressants and become little more than a repeat prescription to be conveniently dealt with. I still hold with the general premise of the original article but also see it cannot be one size fits all just like a thyroid hormone replacement dose.

I too wonder if my depression is intact due to Graves’ disease but I take antidepressants. I loved the article in the guardian by Hari, very interesting and true that lack of control and autonomy in work can cause depression.

The comments are really interesting! A lot of the comments on Twitter about this focus on Johann Hari's plagiarism, which happened several years ago and was very serious, as I remember. I can't recall all the details, but it seems to be why he's been keeping a very low profile.

Hi Hellvella, I am only anwering briefly as I am not feeling well!! Nothing to do with my underactive thyroid this time - at least I dont think so. You never know what illness has a hand in this dreadful illness. I have suffered with anxiety and depression for a long time but what came first, the chicken or the egg?! My GP is very kind but doesnt know enough about our illness frankly. When he saw the result of my last blood test, he put up my thyroxins from 75 to 100. I feel this has pushed me over the edge and my anxiety is worse. My hands shake, my heart pounds and I cant relax, erspecially trying to get to sleep at night. I want to go back to 75 and as soon as I

that went before I meant it to. Just to finish I am going to ask to go back to 75 after my next blood test. I would rather feel tired than this level of anxiety.

The Guardian has responded to itself on this topic :


The author of the reply piece (Dean Burnett) starts off by attacking the messenger not the message, which always weakens and cheapens any kind of article in my opinion.

Burnett comes across as someone who wants to maintain the status quo at all costs. He also pretends not to understand when Hari was using hyperbole for effect (in the case of the comments on grief). Are we supposed to assume that Burnett is too stupid to realise this?

When Burnett refers to the treatments offered by the NHS I don't think any of those treatments are equivalent to the man in Cambodia being given a cow - a treatment which worked, unlike so many anti-depressants or talking therapies or CBT. Instead, in places like the UK, doctors are declaring more and more chronic diseases to be medically unexplained symptoms and these are mental health problems rather than physical health problems.


I started writing my response about 3 hours ago, then went off to have dinner and watch TV before I finished it. So I've just realised that I cross-posted.

Hi Helvella, Did you leave a message for me 9 days ago?

Magill69, any advice about Thyroxine?

If you did, my apologies for not replying sooner.


No - I didn't send a message. And I can't find a response to you personally. :-(

No worry about how long it takes. :-)

OK. A Happy New Year to you!

You asked me about my experience with Thyroxine. I've been on it for 27 years or so. Recently it's been going up and down like a yoyo. So my GP told me to take one day 100mcg and the next day 75mcg alternatively. Seems to keep the TSH just over 1. The GP never tests my FT3 or FT4. I have many other health issues but seem to tolerate Thyroxine well. Don't suffer from depression, only get sometimes the November blues, and feel tired. But then again I'm almost 80 years old, so am entitled to feel tired. But it's not the same tiredness I experienced before being diagnosed with Hypo. And I still love gardening, if I'm not in too much pain due to osteoarthritis.

I notice though that I am losing more hair recently.

Sorry that I can't give you more specific info. My initial contact with HealthUnlocked was because my Kinesiologist had suggested I stopped taking Thyroxine which would stop my aches and pains, but my GP and 3 other doctor friends I asked told me under no circumstances to stop, as I could become a zombie or die. .

well, its very readable and I'm enjoying it so far, even though it is a long way from highlighting the numerous physical conditions that are linked to depression (though have to admit only 10% of way through) but it is at least questioning the assumption that depression and anxiety can be solved with pills.

There may be an element of 'convert zeal' as the author spent mainy years on anti-depressants believing that they were helping.

Quite a lot on the importance of the placebo effect - which really could do with being a lot better understood rather than being used as a dismissive put-down ...

and I presume that the comments on just how independent the reviews for licencing of medication actually are valid.

Will let you know if I come across anything that does point to need to recognise links to other conditions.

You may also like...