The disease of our times - civilisational factors of depression

The disease of our times – civilisational factors of depression

What is the reason for the increasing number of people who suffer from depression, despite the fact of general pressure of keeping a healthy lifestyle and mental health care importance? What are the civilisational factors of the spread of unipolar depression? This article touch on the subject of work stress, longer life expectancy, social media and parental pressure influence on the global problem of depression within the current population.

The pressure of professional career

Nowadays, chronic stress and uncertainty of employment contribute to a higher risk of depressive symptoms occurrence among employees. Just now, the depression is mostly diagnosed in the age group of between 20-40 years old which means it affects the most professionally active people. As a result of reduced productivity and public medical expenses, the economy might be seen as disturbed. In surveys carried out by researchers dealing with depression problem, stress factors were the main reason mentioned by surveyed participants. Surprisingly, it is not a lack of time and an overwhelming number of responsibilities what is the most stressful but unfair treatment and strained relationship with the manager as well as a lack of professional promotion opportunities.

Pressure in the workplace and life in a constant rush might lead to neglect of crucial life aspects like keeping a healthy diet, relax and entertainment. Bad eating habits, sleep deprivation and lack of physical activity influence our mental health by weakening our organism and experiencing constant stress. As a result, the capability of dealing with hard situations is reduced despite the raising workplace expectations.

We live longer – co-occurrence of depression with other chronic diseases

Stress as a result of chronic somatic illness and demanding therapy might increase the risk of depression occurrence. What is more, the treatment of depression accompanied by other diseases is much harder to overcome. Conversely, treatment of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure is less effective when coexist with depression. Thanks to the medicine progression we live longer and we can deal with previously incurable diseases. We developed advanced methods of treatment. On the other hand, many of medicine like glucocorticoids and interferon cause side effects which influence the nervous system and raise the risk of depression symptoms. Another consequence of longer lifespan is a depression in elderly patients which seem to be one of the greatest challenges of modern psychiatry.

Social media – loneliness in the internet and depression

The lack of strong social relationships and weak communication between people are the risk factors for developing depression. Unfortunately, these days virtual friends and number of “likes” in social media have a huge impact on perceiving reality. It happens that conversations with family members or walking the dog is replaced with comments and emoticons. We are flooded by ubiquitous technology every day. It is much simpler to send a brief message than call someone and make a proper conversation. Getting notifications results in rapid dopamine realise what might lead to addiction to social media. Internet platforms owners are aware of the circuit of reward which activates every time when you see the message on the smartphone screen. The mechanism is the same as in cocaine addiction or gambling. We should remember that the more time we spend in front of the screen, the weaker and weaker are our relations with other people in a real life. Social isolation is one of the risk factors of depression occurrence.

Too high demands toward teenagers

Every parent wants all the best for his child. Despite the good intentions, sometimes parents put their unfulfilled dreams and unreasonable demands on their children what might lead to depression in the future. In China and India where the requirements toward teenagers commonly overcome their abilities, the adolescence depression seem to be a widespread problem. According to the results of research conducted on Peking students, the factors of increased morbidity are lack of parental warmth and academic pressure for achieving high results. Besides the press of school/academic achievements, teenagers depression rate raise because of other reasons: availability of stimulants like drugs and alcohol. Substance abuse can significantly foster the progression of the disease.

When we experience the depression of family member or a friend

Isolation and lack of social relationships are factors responsible for the high risk of depression onset. Having said that, keeping unhealthy relations might be also destructive. American researchers found out that the probability of depression occurrence is higher when there is another family member or a close friend suffering from the disease. What is especially interesting is the fact that the morbidity depended on the kind of relationship – a friend depression influenced the person more than a spouse depression. What is more, an overall number of interpersonal relations was much smaller than healthy people. Based on mentioned results researchers observed that there exist co-occurrence of interpersonal relationships and depression but we don’t know what is the cause and the effect. Most probably, it influences each other.

Depression is already said to be another civilisational disease besides diabetes and high blood pressure. Currently, we are pushed forward by more and more responsibilities on us what constantly bust our daily life speed. Will we find a solution for the expansion of mental diseases with the passing time and civilisational progress?


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