This article will discuss the concept of Scandinavian depression, what it means, what research says about it, and how people from Scandinavian ascent deal with the depression. It will also show the particularities of Scandinavian depression, and how it relates to depressive disorder.
Scandinavia is a Peninsula in Europe that englobes Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Faroe Island. They share cultural backgrounds and history. They were countries that after the Second World War were stable, and established a pragmatic view to keeping jobs and the economy alive.
Nowadays, Scandinavian countries are seen as stable ones, with high taxes but with a great return to their citizens. They have an educational, health, and security system that works well and tends to diminish societal discrepancies.
What is Scandinavian depression?
Is the depression that affects people that live in the Scandinavian countries. Although these countries are thought of as having a well-state policy and are usually at the top part of the list of happiest countries, there is also a high incidence of depression among people there, which has been increasing the last few years.
This different understanding of the Scandinavian people’s mental health can be related to how people perceive happiness and the questions that are made in those questionnaires. People usually associate happiness with this sense of security, and that can be a factor to why they are always on the top of the happiness list.
It can also be related to the fact that in those questionnaires people are usually asked about their sense of happiness in a general manner in their life, not in specific moments or fields, this can say that Scandinavians are not the happiest ones, as they are great at forgetting unhappy moments.
From this discrepancy is established the concept of Scandinavian depression. That shows how people living in apparently safe, economically stable countries are still affected by depression.
Research has shown that the rate of depression in Scandinavian countries is something between 3,5-5%. But the government tends to not keep this information up to date, so it might be that the number has increased. As it has in Denmark, in which a study shows that the rate of depression has gone, from the year 200 to 2006, from 2 to 4,9% of the country’s population.
In Finland, the numbers are also going up, according to the Finnish Health department. In Iceland, it is also expected that 25% of the country’s population will have an episode of depression at least once in their life. In Sweden, it is thought that 5% of its population is depressed, and 3,5% of the population of Norway is as well.
Another sign that the incidence of depression is high in Scandinavian countries is how many antidepressants. According to research, the rate of it is higher than the average of OECD and UK, although the rate of each country is different.
Research has shown that the high number of sales of antidepressants is related to the notion that the medication treatment is effective against depression, but is also related to the lack of other forms of treatment like psychotherapy.
It seems more research is needed to understand how Scandinavian countries have such a high purchase rate of antidepressants, and why the diagnoses of depression don’t follow these numbers.
As people still try to understand what causes people that live in Scandinavian countries to be depressed, some hypotheses have come to people’s minds.
In young people, the age group in which feeling sad and pressured rises the most, the first reason why people say they are struggling is because of their mental health. The culture of perfectionism may be responsible for it. Young people are living under constant pressure to be great, and social media seems to also impact that, aside from it making people feel more lonely.
Young people seem to be a big concern right now since they have shown high-stress levels, depression, anxiety, self-harm, and even suicide attempts are a big worry in Finland.
Research showed that poor physical health is an important reason why people say they are suffering, secondly, came mental health, followed by the inequality of income, being unemployed, and lack of social contact.
Another factor that seems to have an impact on Scandinavia people’s mental health is the weather. There is always an increase of feelings of sadness during the colder months in which there is an average of 10 hours of sunlight a week.
This can impact them from keeping a routine, aside from making them feel more isolated and with less energy, feelings that are similar to those experienced by someone with depressive disorder.
Another aspect that seems to be of influence on why people from those countries are depressed, the guilty feeling maybe something to consider. When one lives in a state of welfare, but still feels depressed and out of touch, being in a place perceived as perfect can be something to contribute to the sense of isolation.
How do people cope with Scandinavian depression?
As appointed before, they tend to look for mental health medications frequently. But there is also something to how they are established as a society that can also indicate a factor to cope with Scandinavian depression. That is their sense of equality.
In the center of their society, it is the notion that everyone is equal, and with that, they are all connected, which can help the person coping with depression to feel better understood and supported.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ): What is Scandinavian depression?
What are the reasons Scandinavian people are happy?
People from Scandinavian countries can often feel a sense of happiness because of the stability of their countries. It might be related to how strong their democracy is, how they all have access to free education and healthcare, and the fair distribution of goods.
It can also be related to a state of mind. Those countries seem to have a better balance between work and personal life, something that is always made evident when discussing parental leave for fathers, in which the fathers, as well as the mothers, have the right to an extended leave when the baby is born.
What is the saddest country in the world?
According to the last survey, Afghanistan ranked as the saddest country in the world. This seems comprehensible since in 2021 the country went back into Taliban power. In thinking that, it can lead one to relate how the sense of stability and security can be in direct relation to a person’s sense of happiness.
How is poverty in Norway?
The rate of poverty is low in Norway because of its culture based on collective thought, although it’s not a highly populated country, the policies to place people in jobs in an efficient way are the main reason why it is harder for people to live in poverty there.
But since the Covid-19 outbreak, the unemployment rate grew considerably, and since that the government has created ways for people to try to look for jobs. The rise in the number of immigrants has also impacted poverty in the country.
Since 2016 36% of children of migrants were living in poverty, while only 5% of children of nationals were living in poverty. This is related to the fact that immigrant families usually have a larger family, but fewer sources of income, since they might not have the skills that jobs in Norway require.
The group of people that tend to live most in poverty are people in the age group between 18-34 years old. This can be related to the fact that these people are finishing their education and still haven’t found a job that suits their abilities in the Norway job market. It also happens that older people, from 70 to 90 years old can experience poverty since they are not able to work anymore.
Why is life expectancy so high in Scandinavian countries?
There are many reasons why life expectancy is high in Scandinavian countries. They are all related to how Scandinavian society is organized. People tend to live a more balanced life there, with a cleaner environment and water, with pleasure activities and boundaries for personal and work life.
Although the taxes in those countries tend to be high, as well as the price of things at the market, the salary rate there follows that standard. Since they have a low unemployment rate, people can allow themselves to live a life with dignity.
Aside from that, there is an awareness that the money put on the payment of taxes is returned to citizens in the form of welfare laws and benefits such as free education and health.
Another reason why the life expectancy is high in those countries has to do with safety. It is uncommon for people there to feel unsafe in the street or to fear for their lives since the homicide rate is low.
What is seasonal affective disorder?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a depression that is related to changes in season. It can happen every year in the same period. People tend to get the seasonal affective disorder mostly by the beginning of fall, and it goes through until the end of winter.
Although it is less often, some people develop it from spring to summertime. The treatment of it can be light therapy, psychotherapy, and sometimes medication. When people have SAD they usually feel sad most of the day, every day, with less energy, losing interest in activities they once loved.
They also may have trouble sleeping or sometimes sleeping too much, experience carbohydrate craving, which can make them overeat and gain weight. People experiencing SAD can also feel hopelessness, guilt, and thinking about not wanting to be alive.
People can develop SAD because the change of seasons can impact their circadian rhythm, for example during winter, when it gets dark earlier, people can feel depressed because of that. It can also be caused because their serotonin levels decrease because of less exposure to sunlight.
The person’s melatonin level can also cause them to develop SAD, this can alter their sleeping patterns and their mood.
People with a history of mental illness tend to develop SAD easily, as well as people with lower vitamin D levels and people with a family history of SAD.
In this article we explained A little about Scandinavian culture, its thought of welfare and what is Scandinavian depression is, how people get it, and the way people from Scandinavian countries cope with it.
The article also explained how Scandinavian depression and depressive disorder may have similar symptoms.
If you have any questions or comments about this article feel free to write in the space below.
Vilhelmsson A. Depression and antidepressants: A nordic perspective.Front Public Health. 2013; 1-30.