It seems like more people are suffering from mental health conditions like anxiety and depression than ever before. In fact, the data backs it up as the United States Mental Health Association found that between 1987 and 2007, mental illness has more than doubled. However, is this because there is actually more mental illness in the world or because there are more people reporting these illnesses? Consider this, 50 years ago, there was no real help for mental health conditions besides talking to a psychiatrist or being committed to a hospital. In fact, up until the late 1950s, there were no antidepressants or antipsychotic medications to treat patients with mental health illness symptoms. But is that why the number of those reporting mental illnesses is increasing or is it because we really are just becoming more mentally ill?
Experts say that most of the increase is caused by the surge in education and knowledge about mental illness. The more people known and understand these conditions, the more likely they are to be reported by those who have them. For example, you may have been having bouts of depression alternating with periods of extreme energy for years, but you may not have realized that these are the symptoms of bipolar disorder before because there was no information out there for you to see. However, this may not be the only reason why mental illness is on the rise. Some say it is because of technology.
Technology and Stress
Although much of technology is designed to make our lives easier, some of it can actually be causing us more problems than we realize. Sure, having a remote control that works on everything from changing the television channel to turning on and off lights is convenient, but it also means you are not getting up as much as you normally would. Being able to control everything in our home from our smart phone may be cool but it sure is making us lazy. We don’t even have to go to the store to shop anymore. You can buy anything online and have it delivered to your house and with many of us working from home, this means you can go days, weeks, or even months without leaving your house. That is not good for you physically or mentally.
Lack of Exercise or Lazy Brain
This lack of exercise can be bad for your mental health as well as your physical health because when your physical health suffers, so does your mental health. In fact, those with a chronic physical illness like heart disease or obesity are over 33% more likely to be affected by a mental health disorder like depression. The truth is, your brain produces more endorphins when you exercise or do any kind of physical activity. Endorphins are those hormones that make your feel good. They help with your mood, relaxation, and even give you a boost of energy. However, if you are relying on technology to do everything for you, your brain is going to get lazy.
Children and Technology
Even our children are spending so much time on the internet that they rarely even socialize anymore. They can play games, do schoolwork, read books, watch movies, and hang out with friends online rather than going out and doing these things in person. Why should they get up and go to the library when they can just use their Kindle or another eReader? And who needs to go hang out with friends when you can text them or Facetime them from the comfort of your own home? Kids are getting dependent on social media for their socializing and everything else, so they do not even have to see their friends anymore. That is definitely not healthy for their brain. They are becoming antisocial and lazy kids who depend on their phone to do everything for them. And some of what we do online may actually be causing stress and depression.
Social Media Stress
Studies show that some people who spend a lot of time on Facebook and other social media sites are more susceptible to mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. The stress of trying to keep up with your “friends” online or being pressured into buying from all of those annoying advertisements on those sites can cause some people to end up with anxiety disorders. But this does not mean that we should avoid technology to keep us sane and healthy. No, technology can make life easier and even help keep us healthy with medical and psychology apps as well as online counseling through a provider like BetterHelp. As long as you do not go to extremes and unplug from the real world, technology is a great benefit for all of us.
This is a guest post written by Marie Miguel.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.