Depression is a widespread mental illness throughout the United States. And a very common explanation for depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. In a determined search to understand the cause of depression, one man discovered what can lead to depression, and his findings might surprise you. Hint: it’s not chemistry.
Johann Hari, bestselling author of Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions, suffered from depression and was told that it was a brain chemistry issue.
But after antidepressants made little to know impact, he wasn’t satisfied with this explanation. So, he spent three years researching the causes of depression and anxiety at Cambridge University.
In his research, Hari learned that many scientists also didn’t believe the common explanation for depression: chemical imbalance.
Instead, he learned that depression has nine major causes. Two of these causes are biological, but the rest occur outside the individual. One of these seven factors is nothing other than childhood trauma.
Hari made this discovery when he became acquainted with research conducted by Dr. Vincent Felitti in San Diego, California. In his research, Felitti set out to understand how childhood trauma affected adults.
In a survey completed by 17,000 participants, Felitti found that if an individual experienced seven types of trauma as a child, there was a 3,100 percent increase risk for suicide.
While these figures are alarming, Felitti also discovered what can help trauma survivors overcome depression: talking about their experiences.
In fact, he noted a 35 percent reduction in depression simply by talking about their traumatic experiences. More extensive therapy led to a 50 percent drop in depression.