Various people have different opinions when it comes to analyzing the quality of life in the 21st century. According to popular opinions, modern life is an easy affair that has a ton of conveniences for 21st century human beings. Modern people are able to cure most diseases and lead easier lives as compared to those individuals who lived in the past. Consequently, it is expected that the people who live in the modern times would have high levels of happiness.
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However, the list of the leading problems for the 21st century humanity includes global warming, conflict, cancer, and depression. The inclusion of depression in this list negates the possibility of the 21st century man being the ‘happiest among them all’. Depression has become a pandemic in the modern times. In addition, depression is currently responsible for increased drug abuse, conflict, and suicide rates. Therefore, it is important to examine what has contributed to the high instances of depression in modern times.
Studies indicate that women are at a higher risk of developing depression than men are. For instance, statistics indicate that while about twenty-five percent of American women suffer from depression, only about twelve percent of men suffer from similar predicaments (Galambos, Leadbeater and Barker 16). The higher instances of depression among women can be explained using a number of reasons including the lifestyle of the modern woman and her role in the society. The modern woman is a career woman, a caregiver, a mother, a businesswoman, a wife, a housekeeper, and a political leader among others.
In the past, the role of a woman was restricted to domestic chores and procreation. The increased pressures that have been piled upon the modern woman might explain why depression is more prevalent among women. The increased dimensions of pressure among the modern women might also help to explain why the rest of the population is depressed. The modern life presents individuals with endless possibilities and this piles pressure on the people who are forced to make tough decisions about their lives. Moreover, modern women have to deal with other external pressures such as marital strain, hormonal changes, and hereditary deficiencies.
Another cause of depression in the modern society involves low self-esteem. In the modern society wealth, career success, and political power are often flaunted for all to see. There are displays of wealth in the media and all other possible avenues. The blatant displays of success and good fortune are likely to become a constant bother to individuals with low self-esteem.
In addition, the modern society is more materialistic than most of the others that existed in the past. For instance, a good number of depression cases involve individuals losing their jobs, houses, and companies (Brown and Harris 45). In the past, there were other social descriptors that were strong enough to rival wealth. People who do not believe that they are good enough to find their own success can easily fall into depression cycles.
The social fabric of the modern society has deteriorated and this has made personal struggles difficult to handle. In the past, the social fabric was intact and problems were handled in a more communal manner than they are dealt with today. Today, people find themselves deserted when they are dealing with difficult life events such as childhood traumas, divorces, and bereavement.
Lack of social and moral support whenever people are dealing with personal issues is a common cause of depression. In addition, there are various genetic predispositions that increase instances of depression among individuals. However, individuals who are predisposed to depression can avoid suffering from this condition by investing in social capital.
There is a complicated relationship between alcohol and substance abuse on one hand, and depression on the other. It is difficult to establish if alcohol is the source of depression or vice versa. For instance, people who take up social drinking might end up depressed while sufferers of depression are likely to turn to drugs and alcohol for comfort.
Nevertheless, alcohol is a known cause of depression especially in cases that involve genetic predispositions. On the other hand, people who seek to lessen their burdens by turning to alcohol and other drugs often end up with chronic cases of depression. Experts have described alcohol as “a depressant which increases a person’s chances of developing depression” (Klein and Wender 18).
There are various causes of depression in the modern society. However, the general consensus is that depression is easily aggravated by a combination of factors. Women are at a higher risk of suffering from depression than men. The modern society’s promotion of displays of affluence is also another factor that is likely to cause depression among individuals with low self-esteem.
The institution of the modern society also discourages individuals from sharing their problems with other members of their societies. The lack of social dependence among individuals is a known cause of depression in the modern society. Alcohol is another known cause of depression in the modern society. The future society will continue to deal with various scopes of depression. Meanwhile, it is up to the current society to institute measures to curb runaway depression.
Brown, George, and Tirril Harris. Social origins of depression, New York: Routledge, 2012. Print.
Galambos, Nancy, Bonnie Leadbeater, and Erin Barker. “Gender differences in and risk
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factors for depression in adolescence: A 4-year longitudinal study.” International Journal of Behavioral Development 28.1 (2008): 16-25. Print.
Klein, Donald F., and Paul H. Wender. Understanding depression: A complete guide to
its diagnosis and treatment, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Print.