In the 1970s, a truth was accidentally discovered about depression - one that was quickly swept aside, because its implications were too inconvenient, and too explosive. American psychiatrists had produced a book that would lay out, in detail, all the symptoms of different mental illnesses, so they could be identified and treated in the same way across the United States.
Johann Hari took his first antidepressants at age 18, and the experience, he says, was like a "chemical kiss." The burden was lifted immediately from his whirring brain. He kept on taking the pills for 13 years, at higher and higher doses-until, at one point, the drugs didn't work anymore.
Across the Western world today, if you are depressed or anxious and you go to your doctor because you just can't take it any more, you will likely be told a story. It happened to me when I was a teenager in the 1990s.