21st Century Experiences Rise in Depression Diagnoses
About the Author Dr. Steven P. Levine is a board-certified psychiatrist internationally recognized for his contributions to advancements in mental health care. Though he is a psychiatrist who places great emphasis on the importance of psychotherapy, medication is often a necessary component of treatment, and he was dissatisfied with the relatively ineffective available options with burdensome side effects. Dr. Levine pioneered a protocol for the clinical use of ketamine infusions, has directly supervised many thousands of infusions and has helped establish similar programs across the country and around the world.
If you differentiate between a transient feeling and a medical condition, this may be to blame for “why everyone is depressed”, suddenly.
1 in 14 people in the United States is struggling with clinical depression right now, and the lifetime risk for people in the United States is 1 in 5.¹ That’s:
- 23,000,000 million Americans who are clinically depressed right now.
- 65,000,000 million Americans who will have depression at least once in their lives.
Why Everyone is Depressed?
These figures, especially to those of us who lived before the 21st century, don’t seem plausible. Where were these depressed people back in the day? The mind needs an answer to relieve ambiguity, often turning to explanations like:
- Collapse in morality
- Rapid pace of technology causing unhappiness
- Inaccuracy due to over-diagnosing by pill-pushing doctors
Why Everyone is Depressed More than Our Parents’ Generation?
The numbers, however, may be surprisingly accurate, painting the picture of a real epidemic that’s been around for a long time. Depression and psychiatry are very recent constructs in the course of human history. Even now, the western definition of depression is culturally-bound and unaccepted (or unknown) in other parts of the world. But we have known these conditions worldwide for many centuries, often ascribing irrational labels to what we saw:
- Humoral dispositions
- Character defects
- Moral shortcomings
- Demonic possession (especially with schizophrenia)
With advances in medical science (e.g. genetic revelations and brain imaging studies), the picture is coming into focus and it’s one of depression as a condition outside the dominion of well-wishing, religious ceremony, or willpower. This same science provides us with statistical estimations of how many people are suffering, and though the numbers are extraordinarily large, the reason is not as simple as healthy people getting “hooked” on antidepressants.
We are facing a global epidemic that’s been raging unnoticed for a long time, but we’re making breakthroughs, ketamine treatment being one. Rest assured that our Actify team, along with other scientists and doctors, are at the forefront of mental health science. We will not stop pushing forward as long as 350,000,000 people worldwide currently suffer from depression—a very real, insidious affliction. Ketamine is an early example of new thinking in mental health that is headed toward precise understanding, advanced treatments, and one day, the elimination of depression entirely.
1. AFSP. Suicide Stats.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Data & Statistics Fatal Injury Report for 2016.
Steven Levine, MD, is the CEO and founder of Actify Neurotherapies. He has been treating patients with ketamine therapy since 2011.