What on earth is going on? Why isn’t medical science – and for that matter all of our incredible scientific and technological innovations in every area of life – reducing our stress and lightening our load? Why doesn’t the almost-magical availability of the world’s accumulated knowledge, thanks to the Internet, make us more enlightened and happy? Why is it that, instead, more and more of us are so stressed out as to be on a collision course with illness, misery, tragedy and death?
Terrorism. Chaos. Fear of the future. In the age of Obama, America is undergoing a “fundamental transformation” – that much everyone knows.
But what few seem to realize about this transformation is that the sheer stress of living in today’s America is driving tens of millions to the point of illness, depression and self-destruction. Consider the following trends:
- Suicide has surpassed car crashes as the leading cause of injury death for Americans. Even more disturbing, in the world’s greatest military, more U.S. soldiers died last year by suicide than in combat;
- Fully one-third of the nation’s employees suffer chronic debilitating stress, and more than half of all “millennials” (18 to 33 year olds) experience a level of stress that keeps them awake at night, including large numbers diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorder.
- Shocking new research from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that one in five of all high-school-aged children in the United States has been diagnosed with ADHD, and likewise a large new study of New York City residents shows, sadly, that one in five preteens – children aged six to 12 – have been medically diagnosed with either ADHD, anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder;
- New research concludes that stress renders people susceptible to serious illness, and a growing number of studies now confirm that chronic stress plays a major role in the progression of cancer, the nation’s second-biggest killer. The biggest killer of all, heart disease, which causes one in four deaths in the U.S., is also known to have a huge stress component;
- Incredibly, 11 percent of all Americans aged 12 and older are currently taking SSRI antidepressants – those highly controversial, mood-altering psychiatric drugs with the FDA’s “suicidality” warning label and alarming correlation with school shooters. Women are especially prone to depression, with a stunning 23 percent of all American women in their 40s and 50s – almost one in four – now taking antidepressants, according to a major study by the CDC;
- Add to that the tens of millions of users of all other types of psychiatric drugs, including (just to pick one) the 6.4 million American children between 4 and 17 diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Ritalin or similar psycho-stimulants. Throw in the 28 percent of American adults with a drinking problem, that’s more than 60 million, plus the 22 million using illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants, and pretty soon a picture emerges of a nation of drug-takers, with hundreds of millions dependent on one toxic substance or another – legal or illegal – to “help” them deal with the stresses and problems of life.
By the way, things are no better over the pond – and may be worse, according to one major study that concluded almost 40 percent of Europeans are plagued by mental illness.