The leading health problem worldwide on the rise: depression
By : Harun Yahya
:: Depression is a widespread disease in today’s societies and is called the “plague of our age” due to its destructive power. Damaging the spiritual and physical health of the person, disturbing one’s work life, social and familial relations, it is a problem that makes it extraordinarily difficult for people to function in daily life. It is a disturbance that negatively affects every aspect of one’s life from thoughts to emotions and behaviors, nutrition to sleeping habits, and from work to relationships. It is a state of psychological collapse affecting everyone without distinguishing between rich or poor, ignorant or enlightened, young or old, men or women.
Depression can turn the life of a well-educated, good-humored, optimistic, kind and a beautiful woman who is a mother of two, respected by her family and those around her, who values art, avoids unrest, and who has everything she needs out of life, into a nightmare.
Or it can take the life of a young businessman who is intelligent, successful, rich, hardworking, ambitious, career-savvy, open-minded, strong in social relations, multi-faceted, and who regularly exercises, and turn it upside down.
Most people may think that it is impossible for individuals with such favorable attributes to suffer from such a psychological disorder. In reality, it is entirely possible to come across such people among those who suffer from depression and tell their stories about their experiences with the disorder.
According to a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report from 2017, 322 million people worldwide suffer from depression, in other words, 4.4 percent of the world population. This figure is so significant that it means depression is the most common disease of our world. That’s why the WHO designated April 7 as World Health Day with depression being the theme of this year, to draw attention to the seriousness of the issue.
Again, some statistical data on the report is important in terms of understanding the magnitude of the issue. Depression seems to be a rising trend around the whole world, including the most modern societies and developed countries of our age. So much so that the rate of increase between 2005 and 2015 is 18.4%, which is a significant jump. Depression is more common among women (5.1%) than men (3.6%). Women are affected more by the negative consequences of this disease. Additionally, the incidence rate of this disease is higher in the elderly than in young people; the most affected people are between 55-74 age range. Again, according to the report, among the non-fatal diseases, the group of diseases causing the greatest loss of health is the depressive disorders.
In addition to this, another alarming development is the record increase in the use of depressants and the rising trend to consume these medicines as if they are a part of one’s daily diet. According to a study conducted by the US National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), when the periods between 1988-1994 and 2005-2008 are compared, the rate of increase in antidepressant usage in all age groups in the US is approximately 400%. Among the most commonly used prescription drugs in the US, antidepressants are at the top.
Depression is often accompanied by feelings of sadness, grief, discomfort, exhaustion, indifference, restlessness, desperation, hopelessness, nervousness, tension, emptiness, worthlessness and guilt, along with excessive worry, anxiety and also various physical disturbances. The most dangerous among these is, indeed, the thought of suicide, which begins to occupy the patient’s mind at later stages of the disease. The gravity of the situation can be understood more clearly especially if we consider the fact that millions of people try to commit suicide every year, about 800,000 of them lose their lives as a result, and according to the WHO report, depression is the main driver of suicidal thoughts.
In the fight against depression, regular exercise, healthy nutrition, regular sleep, positive lifestyle changes, antidepressant drug usage under the supervision of a specialist physician and psychological treatment support may be useful to some extent. But as a definitive solution, the conditions that lay the groundwork for depression must be eliminated.
Today, societies are under the influence of a strict, cold and loveless atmosphere. Most people have a tremendous tendency towards selfishness, insensitivity, hatred, intolerance, heartlessness and cut-throat competition. Most people prefer to do what suits their interests, not their conscience. The resulting trend for self-interest brings unrest, tediousness and tension. These feelings are not the kind of feelings that the human body can endure. Having a mood contradictory to human nature causes disorders in the health of the mind, spirit and body. In other words, as people move away from love, moral and spiritual values, they get closer to depressive disorders and psychological problems. The human soul has a disposition that only remains satisfied as long as it is in pursuit of goodness, beauty and love.
Making a child in need happy with a gift instead of ignoring him or helping a poor man instead of staying indifferent to him are the real sources of the most wonderful joy and happiness. The human soul must constantly be fed with self-sacrifice, love, moral and spiritual beauty. In every respect, a high quality life can only be achieved in this way. A self-centered life that is constantly dominated by anger and hatred is not how a real lifestyle should be. The fact that the majority of people make this mistake shouldn’t deceive anyone. People can easily make love and peace rule over their hearts. It is not the conflicts or contradictions of the materialist world that will bring a superior lifestyle to humanity; on the contrary, it is the sacrifices that people make. In a society that understands that the world is not a place of conflict but love, disorders such as depression will disappear altogether.
The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science. He tweets @harun_yahya
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in the Column section are their own and do not reflect RiyadhVision’s point-of-view.