In this brief guide, we will discuss why so many people are depressed, and what could be some things we can do to maintain a healthier culture with reduced depression.
Why are so many people depressed?
So many people are depressed these days because of a number of reasons like the distance between people increasing due to technology, distance because of the coronavirus pandemic, job dissatisfaction, and the constant ups and downs in the economy.
Compared to the previous generations, the current generation, and even the older people in the current climate, tend to get a lot more depressed than people used to.
Many studies have been undertaken to understand why this is, as Depression seems to be on the rise, according to the WHO figures, that says that approximately 264 million people worldwide are currently suffering from depression, which is an insanely staggering figure.
Reasons why many people are depressed
Depression is often called the “Common cold of Mental illness”, and in fact, that is how it used to be seen in the Japanese culture for the longest time as well, but it has become prevalent enough in the entire world these days to have earned that name.
Let us take a look at possible reasons why so many people might be depressed these days.
Lack of Play
People today have a tough time shutting things down and just getting engaged in play behavior, or just, relaxing, fun behavior that does not have any purpose, but to have fun.
Play allows your brain to relax and form the neurons that help you ward off negative automatic thoughts and possible depression. Peter Gray, Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, says “Free play and exploration, are … the means by which children learn to solve their own problems, control their own lives, develop their own interests, and become competent in pursuit of their own interests.”
With the increase in crimes against children and other problems in society like academic pressures, many young people do not play the way they used to, which sows the seeds for possible depression when they get older, and even when they are young, for that matter, considering how many young people these days are depressed.
These days, approximately one in three mothers has children by Cesarean section in the US. 2.8 Compared to a rate of 4.5 percent in 1965, that is 32.8 percent, which is a huge rise.
The World Health Organization recommends that the Cesarean section rate in a country in general, should not be higher than 10 to 15 percent, as it has been associated with high maternal as well as neonatal complication rates.
Some studies have shown that babies born by Cesarean are at increased risk of developing allergies, asthma, and diabetes.
Sugar in most foods
Fast food and unhealthy food in general can be a huge factor in how we feel. These are things we put into our bodies all the time and food is supposed to sustain us.
However, carbohydrates saturate so much of the American diet that it almost seems like no one really cares about the bad effect they can have on your mood.
British psychiatric researcher Malcolm Peet found a strong link between high sugar consumption and both depression and schizophrenia in a cross-cultural analysis he conducted.
One reason for the connection between sugar and mood may be that refined sugar, as well as unhealthy foods that are processed quicker than healthy foods containing important nutrients that are harder to break down, sets off chronic inflammation in your body, which then harms your immune system.
Too much sugar has also been known to suppress the activity of a key growth hormone in the brain called BDNF, low levels of which have been seen in both depression and schizophrenia.
The usage of antibiotics for just about anything these days is another possible reason for more prevalent mental illnesses like depression.
Researchers at McMaster University published a study where they disrupted the normal bacteria of healthy adult mice with antibiotics.
They found that the mice became more anxious and there were changes in certain parts of the mice’s brains affecting emotion and mood.
Usage of screens
The constant use of screens, mobiles, laptops, televisions, handheld video games, the list grows longer by the day, has also been associated with depression and depressive traits.
Almost every single person in the world today has its own screen to look at, all the time. Children as young as 2 years old can get around on a mobile device with ease before they can actually learn to write or do other things children should do.
That much light hitting our eyes constantly has the power to dull our senses, and cause changes in our mood.
A British study found that children who spent more than four hours a day in front of computer screens or television tended to have lower self-esteem and more emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression, compared to children who did not.
Psychiatrist Mary G. Burke has compiled a comprehensive list of studies in her article “The Impact of Screen Media on Children” in Psychiatric Times. Dr. Burke says in this article, “fMRI studies during and after screen media exposure reveal pronounced and specific activation patterns,”. What is shocking is that some of the same results were seen in drug addicts, which should make it clear how destructive screens are to us.
In fact, studies have also found that sitting in front of a computer for 5 hours per day can increase the risk of depression 5 times
Surveys have revealed that divorce rates have doubled over the past two decades among persons aged 35 years or older.
The excessive use of screens, the problems with the economy, the general state of the world, and the growing distance between people is giving way to more and more divorces and broken relationships in the world.
While it is obviously good for people to go their separate ways rather than stay in a marriage that is not meant to be, the question to be asked here is why those marriages are breaking in the first place.
Chances are that so many marriages don’t work these days because of the circumstances in the society in general, the world was simpler even just a few decades ago, and as the pressures of the society continue to mount, it makes it harder and harder to sustain relationships in a family, even between blood relatives.
There is currently no age group in the world that is not under stress.
From children to older people, everyone is under undue stress at all times.
Prolonged stress of this sort can eventually lead to depression, as the levels of hormones in your blood are constantly high, which is not good.
Increased life expectancy
This may sound odd, but increased life expectancy has created unnecessary demands on the family dynamics and it shapes the economy that we live with almost directly.
While it is great that we can prolong the lives of our loved ones, it tends to come at the cost of our peace of mind.
Not to mention increased life expectancy is particularly hard on those senior citizens, who need to find new ways to fill time while still struggling with an aging body, because sadly, a healthier body doesn’t seem to come with an increased life expectancy.
Rising depression due to Coronavirus Pandemic
Talking about the past few months in particular, or the year 2020 in general, there has been a steep rise in mental health problems since quarantine has come into place, and as horrible things have happened around us, including the pandemic and the deaths it has caused, the riots that the US has seen, the many tragedies that have happened around the world and so on.
In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that as many as a thirds of Americans are showing signs of clinical depression and anxiety.
If you are currently struggling with your mental health during this unprecedented time, reach out to BetterHelp today and get the support you deserve.
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues are becoming amplified during the recent pandemic, in addition to which coronavirus patients and their families are also at high risk to develop depression and anxiety.
Maurizio Fava, MD is the psychiatrist-in-chief of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, and he says about the relation between the rise in mental health issues like depression during the pandemic: “It’s quite understandable the coronavirus pandemic is likely to cause significant stress and psychological distress for a large proportion of the population, and we know the rates are progressively increasing.”
According to Dr. Fava, various factors related to coronavirus may be contributing to the increase in depression rates, like
· Trauma from widespread disease and the results of this disease like lack of supplies and termination of schedules
· Grief over losses of life around the world
· Fear of getting sick
· Unprecedented physical distancing and quarantine, isolation
· Financial concerns like unemployment and housing insecurity and a fluctuating economy
· Loss of community and community-related resources
· Reduced access to caregivers worry for said caregivers
What do we about so many people being depressed?
There are some things we can do to get a handle on so many people being depressed, these are:
· Staying away as much as possible from junk food, trying to adopt better, healthy food habits
· Getting as much exercise as possible
· Taking time out every day to relax, and do something apart from watching stuff on tv or computers and create something or learn a new skill
· Reducing work stress by maintaining a work-life balance, not bringing work home with us
· Trying to connect with family members and spouses by actively trying to make time rather than taking relationships for granted
· Trying to make sure that the entire day doesn’t go by with devices
· Particular to the pandemic, making sure that we are in touch with friends constantly, not letting channels of communication die down
· Reaching out by telepsychiatry or online means if things start to seem too bleak
In this brief guide, we discussed why so many people are depressed, and what could be some things we can do to maintain a healthier culture with reduced depression.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s): Why are so many people depressed.
What is the number 1 cause of depression?
There is no number 1 cause of depression, but most depressive disorders are a result of a combination of psychological, environmental, and genetic factors.
There can be multiple causes of major depression such as genetic vulnerability, severe life stressors, substances, and medical conditions can affect the way your brain regulates moods.
What gender has the highest rate of depression?
Women tend to have the highest rate of depression, particularly after puberty. In fact, depression has also been linked to female hormones to some extent due to the chances of depression is higher in women after pregnancy or around menopause.
What is causing the rise in depression?
Technology advancement and the distance from each other may be causing the rise in depression, among other things.
Depression “may be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors,” the CDC says.
Experiencing traumatic or stressful events, such as physical or sexual abuse, the death of a loved one, or financial problems, are also factors that cause depression
What Are the Main Causes of Depression?
The main causes of depression can be anything from environmental factors to psychological factors to changes in brain structure or chemistry. Some other factors that may cause depression are:
- Certain medications.
- Death or a loss
What is critical depression?
Critical or clinical depression is a severe form of depression that includes symptoms like extremely low mood, appetite or sleep loss, and feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness.
Critical or clinical depression is known officially as a Major Depressive disorder and has three categories, Mild, Moderate, and Severe.
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.