Most Anxiety and Depression Is Related, Not to Brain Chemical Imbalance, But to Isolation Without Close Friends

In 2017, life expectancy dropped and suicides rose in the US due to addiction to opioids and a rise in suicide. Johann Hari, author of Chasing the Scream and Lost Connections, explains that physical dependence on drugs is not the main source of addiction – and that depression is not due to chemical imbalance, but is the result of the way we live. He says that everyone has psychological needs and long to feel that they belong, that their lives have meaning and purpose. He says addiction increases when these deep needs are not met. He cites a study from several decades ago that showed that Americans averaged five close friends they could call on in an emergency, but now most Americans say the number is zero. This is a society of loneliness. Hari says the opposite of addiction, and the solution to addiction, is having one’s deeper psychological needs met and establishing a close connection with others. -GEG