IS DEPRESSION ON THE RISE?
The trend of depression statistics over several years has been increasing at a rate which has become a cause of concern. Cases of depression began to rise considerably in 2005 and further continue to escalate at an alarming pace. It seems if the statistics continue to rise at this rate, it won’t be long before every person in the world will be suffering from depression or some forms of anxiety disorders. However, Psychiatry and Science are at crossroads regarding this deduction. There have been attempts to concoct and prove theories as to the root of the problem yet no real consensus has been reached. Some don’t even believe the problem to be real.
According to the most common theory, the rise in the internet usage has directly or indirectly brought a host of mental health problems in its wake. The phenomenon on the theorized abilities of the internet to influence our mind can be widely explained. Over and above, the internet provides us with access to negative information in unprecedented amounts. All of this serves to make us more anxious and render our ruminations rather more negative than would otherwise be the case.
Many Asian scientists believe that internet causes addiction. The dopamine surge caused by receiving information and rewards through gameplay via the internet is causing pathological usage and addiction among people. This is naturally altering the human brain’s chemistry by disposing heavy internet users to anxiety and depressive states.
Instead of resting when we are home, we start using the internet immediately which over-stimulates our brain with both work and leisure which prevents it from getting a sound rest. This ultimately leads to mental health problems like depression.
Also, the internet puts us under subliminal pressure to achieve a pre-standardized level of ‘perfection’, showing us the perfectly tailored social media streams shows a perfect life to which we cannot possibly live up to. All this content is of course heavily edited and a ‘glossy’ version of the real truth but it, nonetheless, cause a good deal of insecurity and feelings of worthlessness.
It was predicted that by 2017, the majority of people in the world will be living in urban areas. In the past, most of the people worldwide have lived in small rural communities. However, people have now started migrating to urban areas.
As a result of major industrialization, there is a lack of lush green spaces in urban areas. According to studies, our mental health is significantly boosted by time spent outdoors especially in green spaces. But the urban cities have adopted the ‘in-door’ lifestyle. Everyday urban life tends to be more high powered and stressful than normal rural life. Constant noise, negotiating traffics, increased crime rates, busy jobs etc. all of these enhance stress risk on urban dwellers which later on increases the risk of depression and other forms of anxiety disorders.
Also, in small rural communities people are well known to each other and are often cared for by the community should things go wrong. When nobody really knows who you are and you lack a sense of place, tribe or general belongingness, it is easy to generate feelings of worthlessness and depression. Urban cities, nonetheless, experience anonymity as urban communities are very cohesive.
It’s no secret now that we are becoming increasingly sedentary and eating an extremely poor diet. Regular exercise bestows upon us good cardiovascular health. Without good cardio health, our brain is unable to receive the required nutrition from the blood. Also without the right kind of diet, the nourishment we are receiving is below level and unable to nourish the brain completely to keep emotional and mental health at equilibrium. General lifestyle and improvements in the diet are required to make an enormous difference in the mental situation all over the world.
‘Politics of fear’ is a hot topic these days. Political campaigns nowadays are signed to elicit votes by scaring people. Hatred, stress, and anger provoked by these political and media campaigns can cause an extremely negative effect on mental health of the people.
Some, however, believe that all of the above is simply an illusion and that the real problem is not a problem at all. In recent years, people all over the world have become far better at accepting, seeking help for and diagnosing mental health problems. Perhaps, we have always been this depressed, it’s just that we are more self-aware about it now.
Author: Shivangi Singh
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