Why have “Anxiety and Depression” disorders drastically increased lately in the US?
I have a question please,
The most common mental challenge affecting adults in the US today is “Anxiety”, and lately, its become much more dangerous than ever before; just look at the increased crime rates, panic attacks, irrational fear, restlessness, failure to concentrate at work without using ‘something’ and in worst cases – suicide. When you study mental health statistics, you’ll notice that anxiety disorders currently affect 40 million adults in the US, age 18 and older or 18.1% of the population every year.
The trend keeps rising, and does not show any sign of falling any time soon. Why is this so? Why are we increasingly suffering from anxiety every single day that goes by especially in this 21st Century?
Thanks for your input 🙂
Good question Arian! First, thank you for raising this inquiry, and second, I agree with you – anxiety has grown so vastly, not just in the US but worldwide. I think this is happening today because of three main reasons: the Landscape of the Digital Age, Increased Self-identification by financial status, and lastly degraded parenting principles. These matters have increasingly presented a huge challenge more-so in this century than any other. How have these increased anxiety? Note that today’s problems are not that enormous or very different from those that have been faced in other centuries, the problem is not with “challenges faced” but with our ability and levels of discipline to cope with them. Here’s how:
- The Digital Age: The advancements in the digital age help children and adults to overcome a number of uncomfortable situations such as boredom, loneliness, stress, etc through social media, video games, etc. In the generations before, such times of uncomfortable situations were used to develop mental strength and discipline to learn how to withstand and overcome stressful challenges and a child therefore grew up much stronger intellectually and emotionally. Everything was raw, there wasn’t much of painkillers, drug use to mask what’s actually happening, but head-on encounter and confrontation of challenges which mostly bore maturity and solutions. A person grows up in the world today expecting things to go right most of the times, things to be easy, and the like, and when things try to get harder – most will resort to masking the challenges with a number of superficial tools currently available both readily and cheaply e.g. drug use among others. The untamed digital age will destroy non-resilient young people today!
- Financial Status: there’s an ever increasing notion in today’s era in which people are identified, addressed, treated, and considered based on their financial status. In the past centuries, it was a question of morality, hardwork, ingenuity, special inventions, communal oneness, inter-personal relationships – but man, those days are long gone! The norm today is, you guessed it, who is financially better than the other. This pushes us to work so hard and some times irresponsibly to gain wealth and fame no matter what it takes. The struggle to be better financially without boundaries (regardless of whether one will be successful or not) is per se a huge contribution to anxiety among millions of youths and adults. So many live in the world of fantasy and unrealistic expectations. When these expectations fail to be actualised, anxiety sets-in, when expectations are met, they are only replaced with higher expectations over and over and anxiety never ends. True satisfaction is hard to reach in this century.
- Parenting principles: its either that parents are giving their children too much freedom, too much comfort or too little. And this is all attributed to the fact that parents in this generation are extremely busy, too busy to have quality time for their children; so they will either hire a paid personnel to take care of the children or buy as many toys to numb the children’s longing need for their parental love. In the past, a parent’s most prized possession was his or her child. Today, its business, its that company or that job. Taking a child to a good school or getting them those nice expensive amenities in my opinions are far less important than actually being their for your child and raising him or her in a manner that will prepare them for the actual world they are to live in. A child needs to know that its not all rainbows all the time, a child needs to be disciplined by their parent and most importantly, a child needs to be brought up with moral inclination for the better.
I’m sure there are many reasons why we are facing increased rates of anxiety and I believe that the three major areas above are involved in each one of them. How do we overcome the mental disorders – we need to get more prepared for the challenges we face by preparing the young generation to face the world as it is rather than as they want it to be.
I hope this provides some pointers. Thanks Arian!
Wow! Thank you Fred. This is so detailed and priceless. As a child who was brought up by really busy parents, I can identify with this. The combination of the digital age and the longing of financial freedom today is ever on the rise! God help us.