According to the World Health Organization, 27% of American adults are currently dealing with some type of mental disorder right now, making us the country with more mental health disorders than anyplace else.
Including everything from mood disorders, anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and substance abuse, not only is one-quarter of our population suffering from these issues at any given time, but nearly half of us will face a mental health problem during our lifetime. Depressing, huh? And that chance only increases as we get older, with 55% of those affected when they reach the age of 75.
Not only that, but other mental health problems such as eating disorders, personality disorders and schizophrenia affect another 15% of us, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
When it comes to depression alone, one in 10 people suffer from it, and twice as many will be affected over the course of a lifetime, with women having a 50% greater chance at this and other mood disorders. In other mental health issues, roughly 19% will suffer from anxiety this year, and 31% will during their lifetime. And 14.6% of us will face a substance abuse problem at some point.
After the U.S., other countries with the next highest rates include the Ukraine, Colombia, New Zealand, Lebanon and France. On the flip side, Japan, the People’s Republic of China, Nigeria and Israel have the lowest rates, especially for depression.
So, all of this makes us wonder: What is going on in the U.S. that makes us the number one country for mental health problems? Especially when you consider the fact that we are one of the wealthiest nations in the world, which is interesting because people in less-developed countries were shown to be less depressed.
Ron Kessler, the Harvard researcher who headed much of the WHO’s mental health research, summed this up by saying:
When you’re literally trying to survive, who has time for depression? Americans, on the other hand, many of whom lead relatively comfortable lives, blow other nations away in the depression factor, leading some to suggest that depression is a “luxury disorder.”
So does this mean we’re all a bunch of spoiled Americans who are never truly happy and always in search of something bigger and better? Or maybe it’s the fact that we have too much wealth, too much materialism and too much of a focus on the wrong things in this country (like how we look). According to this research, it could be due to our subjective perception of how we measure up and what we think we lack that is leading to so many mental health disorders.
What do you think?