The book in 3 sentences
Anti-depressant doesn’t work as well as the pharmaceutical company wants us to believe.
When looking at the causes of depression we need to look at a person’s life, and the environment to find out where life is going wrong.
Treat a person’s environmental problems before prescribing antidepressants.
65-80% of people on antidepressants continue to be depressed, after the initial kick. For doctors, it’s easier(and lack of knowledge) to prescribe anti-depressants and it making some serious money for the big pharmaceutical company. Although the pills have it placed, the book argues to first examine the surroundings of the person, before making a hasty decision to prescribe pills, which in many cases just give temporary relief.
The author makes a statement that depression might be a form of grief – for our own lives not being as they should and the connections we have lost, but still need. Further, the book presents 9 disconnections that might cause depression and 7 ways to reconnect.
Nine causes for depression and anxiety
Cause one: disconnection from meaningful work. If your work is monotonous with no passion and you have no energy, you haven’t been challenged for ages, and it’s destroying your soul day by day, and you kind of hate your job, you are a bit screwed if you want a depression-free life because work is a big part of your life, often it consists of 40-50 hours per week
Cause two: Disconnection from other people. Evolution has designed us to feel good when connected to others, but also to feel secure, When in a group connected to others you have a secure network, and it’s keeping you happier. But it is possible to be surrounded by people and still be lonely. To end loneliness, sharing is key, sharing something that matters with at least one other person, and get the feeling that you have a sense of mutual aid and protection together.
Cause three: Disconnection from meaningful values. The chase for money and items, like cars, iPhones, purses, watches, has proven detrimental to happiness. Materialism is junk food for our minds and will leave you constantly vulnerable to the world.
Cause four: Disconnection from childhood trauma. The more traumatic experiences you went through as a kid, the more likely you are to become depressed as an adult.
Cause five: Disconnection from status and respect. A group of scientists followed a group of baboons and found that the poor baboon at the bottom of the social hierarchy, the guy that had no friends, no woman would touch him, had the worst possibilities for food and everyone picked on him, were constantly stressed, look awful and showed the same treats as a person with depression.
Cause six: Disconnection from nature. A study got people who lived in the cities to take a walk in nature, everyone felt better, but for depressed people, the effect was dramatic. Exercise has also been shown to reduce depression and anxiety significantly.
Cause seven: Disconnection from a hopeful or secure future. If you wonder what will happen next week, next month, next year if you still have a job, where will you live, will I have food, it will take a toll and create anxiety. A positive future on the other hand will protect you. When life is bad today, you can think – this hurts, but it won’t hurt forever.
Cause eight and nine: The real role of genes and brain changes. Sadly, genes do play a part in whatever you might be depressed or not. According to National Institute of Health 37% of depression is inherited. for comparison, how tall you are is 90% inherited. But, your genes are activated by the environment, in short: you have an increased risk of depression with the wrong genes, but only in a certain environment.
Reconnection. Or, a different kind of antidepressant
In the last section of the book, the author layout some suggestions for antidepressants without taking a pill. Starting with Reconnecting to other people. Join a group that is doing something you like, climbing, weightlifting, swimming, knitting, or go se a friend, try to develop a good and deeper relationship. If not, start a group, bind people together, or help another person. Try to find a meaningful job(Not as easy I know) where you are controlled less and believe what you do matters. Stop buying stuff to show off in hope that it will make you happy, reconnect with meaningful values(likes those mentioned above). Many are hiding away their childhood trauma, feeling ashamed, and won’t talk about it, but patients who shared and had their childhood trauma acknowledged by an authority figure showed a reduction in anxiety. Restore your future, put in the effort to try to create a more secure future.
Many of the mentioned antidepressant measures above are easier said than done, it’s easier to just take a pill. But in the long run, the best outcome(for most people) will be to investigate the 9 causes(presented in this book) for what leads to depression and then come up with an individual solution on how to reconnect to the world and reduce depression and anxiety in your life.