Why is mental illness on the rise?

Why is mental illness on the rise?

Nowadays, more and more people around the globe suffer from mental illnesses and -in some cases- they don’t even know about it. Even though life is much easier and simpler than 50 years ago, there are more people- especially young people- who suffer any kind of mental and emotional distress.

Due to the hustle and bustle of daily life routine many adolescents and young people suffer from serious psychological distress. This condition has drastically increased in the last few decades affecting tens of millions of people according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Numbers are alarmingly rising in the USA. It’s estimated that 3.4% of the American population experiences any kind of psychological distress such as sadness, restlessness, worthlessness, and mood disorders which may lead to well-being impairment or to commit suicide in the worst scenario.

What call experts’ attention is the recently increased number of adolescents and young adults who suffer from anxiety or depression. Most of them are post secondary school students of all socioeconomic backgrounds with no health insurance. This is highly worrying since it means many distressed Americans don’t have access to a psychiatrist, counselor or health medical treatment. 

As time passes by, the rate of adolescents in the USA experimenting with depressive symptoms increases.  According to researchers, such an increase- which is dated back to 2000- had a peak in 2011 which can be associated with social media and the overuse of smartphones from an early age.

What’s a mental illness?

Mental illnesses are more than sadness or an outburst of anger. It’s more complex than that. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classified mental illnesses in up to 20 subheadings.  There are tens of mental disorders ranging from anxiety to suicide. 

It’s a spectrum in which we all may sit on. Many people go back and forth from copying or struggling with difficult situations but finally they try to succeed and move on. Whereas there’s a small group of people who are diagnosed with a mental disorder.

13 reasons why mental illnesses are rising

There are compelling reasons why mental disorders have alarmingly increased in the last few decades. There is no one single cause but multiple risk factors which in combination with one’s genes might lead to mental disorders.

There are people who are more predisposed and vulnerable than others to suffer from dementia or depression. What’s worse, if they go through a difficult time they have more chances of developing a mental problem.

The most common causes are:

  • On one hand, technological advances have led children and teens to suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. It means that new cultural trends have affected from 52% to 63% of adolescents who have experienced depressive symptoms. The unpalatable truth is that these rates increase as time passes by. Electronic device abuse is known as Electronic Screen Syndrome.
  • Nowadays most parents pressure their children as regards a university career, get a steady job or in order to become financially independent. These situations may cause anxiety or depression if results are not what expected by their parents.
  • Many adolescents and children are constantly exposed to violence on TV and video games causing paranoia, anxiety, or depression due to a distortion of reality.
  • Constant exposure to screens such as a mobile phone or tablet can cause sleep deprivation or poor sleeping.
  • Young adults may experience reduced future expectations. Even though life seems much easier as regards getting a job or survival, in most cases, not fulfilling one’s goals may lead to frustration and depression.
  • Due to the increase in divorces and long working hours, many children have reduced parental contact which leads them to feel that void by joining a gang or through drug abuse.
  • A divorce or the breakdown of the family unit is a stressful situation that can cause anxiety or depressions if not treated prematurely with a counselor.
  • Today, thanks to technological breakthroughs many children grow up without much face-to-face contact and interaction.
  • In today’s world, there’s easy access to many kinds of recreational drugs which are accepted by many adolescents. Substance abuse is considered a mental disorder especially if the user doesn’t have control over it or is struggling with it.
  • Nowadays children are exposed to different types of violence at home and at school such as sexual harassment, bullying, verbal abuse among others.
  • People who are confused as regards their sexual orientation may suffer at some point of depression, anxiety, or other types of minor mental problems.
  • The same happens with those who are confused with their gender orientation.
  • People who suffered threats, a robbery, or any kind of dramatic situation may experience anxiety or panic attacks preventing them from having a healthy life.

Even though there are more and more people who suffer from mental disorders, they’re still considered a taboo and those who are mental ill are not accepted in several job positions around the globe.

People who feel anxious or with panic attacks should seek professional help as soon as possible since many mental problems can be treated with medication if detected at an early stage.

If you are interested in learning more about the cost of psychiatry, check out BetterHelp.com.

Since most factors that lead to depression or other common disorders can be prevented, a lifestyle change is recommended in order to get an easy solution such as more face-to-face interactions and less mobile devices before bedtime. Social media shouldn’t interfere in one’s daily activities and lifestyle, for that reason it’s recommended to avoid technological overuse and  replace it by recreational activities such as going to a park or more face-to-face meetings. Healthier habits will eventually lead to a healthier mind.

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Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 10 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. All my ideas come from my very active lifestyle, every day I ask myself hundreds of questions to doctors, specialists, and physicians. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. In all my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. I believe that any information should be free, we want to know more every day because we learn every day. Most of our medical sources come from Canada.ca and government research. You can contact me on our forum or by email at info@sind.ca.