Depression and anxiety affect people from all over the world, but there has been much debate lately as to whether the Western world experiences it more because of our societal values and perspectives, economy, political climate, shift towards individualism, and more. Is this myth true? Have our attempts at happiness and success faltered us? Are we now one of the most depressed, anxious countries in the world?
The world’s most comprehensive study of mental disorders was conducted in 2012 by researchers from the University of Queensland, Australia. The study’s span involved 91 countries, which involve more than 480,000 people. It was found that anxiety was more common in countries of the Western world, even compared to other Eastern countries who were experiencing conflict. The opposite was true regarding depression; Depression was found to be more common in Eastern countries than in Western ones. This finding was suggested to be due to some of the conflict that people in other countries are experiencing. Does this mean that we do not need to make any changes?
There are certainly things that we need to focus on here in the Western world if we want to improve our overall happiness and quality of life. A 2012 study titled “Depression as a Disease of Modernity: Explanations for Increasing Prevalence” conducted by a researcher from the University of Kansas Medical Center gave some excellent reasons that have caused our downfall in the areas of anxiety, depression, and unhappiness over the years. The study states,
“Modern populations are increasingly overfed, malnourished, sedentary, sunlight-deficient, sleep-deprived, and socially isolated. These changes in lifestyle each contribute to poor physical health and affect the incidence and treatment of depression.”
This notion gives us insight into changes we need to make as a society to keep us healthy and happy. There are many small steps that you can take to increase your happiness; practicing mindfulness, exercising, eating healthfully, connecting with others, and giving are just a few great additions that you can incorporate into your life. If we all take part in doing this, we may be able to fight not only anxiety and depression, but also better ward off physical illnesses, mental conditions, violence, poverty, and more.
New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment centers. If you are seeking help, call us today at 888-316-3665 for a consultation. Don’t wait any longer to seek treatment. Begin developing the tools you need to succeed and become a happier, healthier person.