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General Social Trend #8:
  The rise in mental illness  
  While the media focuses on the sad plight of millions of people who have contracted HIV/AIDS and other potentially lethal diseases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated in a series of reports since 2001 that approximately one in four of the world’s population will at one point in their lives suffer from some form of mental illness.  
  If true, it means around 1.6 billion people are suffering some kind of mental illness or are at risk of mental illness making mental illness the largest pandemic in the history of the human race.  
5.31.1 What is the current state of mental illness?  
  Mental illness is a broad generic label for a category of illnesses that may include affective or emotional instability, anti-social behaviour and/or cognitive dysfunction or impairment. There are literally dozens of now recognized mental disorders including major depression, addiction, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, psychosis and schizophrenia.  
  WHO estimated in 2001 that around 450 million people around the world suffer from mental or neurological disorders such as depression. Of these, approximately 121 million people were suffering from depression, 24 million from schizophrenia and around 70 million from addiction.  
5.31.2 What is the trend? Has mental illness always been high?  
  As substantial as the present day figures on mental health appear, a key question is whether mental illness is rising, declining or has always been high, just under diagnosed.  
  Surprisingly, there are different “experts” who argue in favour of all three positions. For those who say mental illness has always been significant point to the lack of adequate analysis one hundred years ago, let alone two hundred years ago. There are even those who claim that some mental health issues (such as schizophrenia) are actually decreasing from a peak in the 1960’s. Then there is a large body of respect scientists who point overwhelmingly to mental illness being an ever growing modern pandemic.  
  Unfortunately historic records of mental illness cases are highly suspect, given it records only the most extreme of cases. However, if these “extreme” cases are taken on their own then in the United States, the number of severely mentally ill in 1840 was listed as 2,561, in 1955 it was 558,992 and in 2005 around 16 million to 20 million.  
  If America is taken as one example, then clearly severe mental illness is on the rise, and dramatically so, even if non severe mental disorders are being better diagnosed today than one hundred years ago.  
5.31.3 What is causing the rapid rise in mental illness around the world?  
  One again, mental health “experts” disagree wildly on the causes of the rapid rise of mental illness, with some blaming modern culture and society, others blaming modern food, some drugs such as marijuana and alcohol and others still blaming an as yet undiagnosed virus.  
  In terms of drug abuse, there is no question that excessive use of opiates and/or sedatives can lead to severe mental illness. Contrary to marijuana being a major cause of mental illness as promoted by some politicians and media, alcohol abuse is twenty times more prevalent a cause for mental illness than “smoking pot”.  
  In terms of food additives and diet, there is some evidence to suggest that high sugar and salt diets can affect the brain over long periods of time causing some people to be more prone to mental illness such as depression. However, the number of people and the consistency of data cannot mean this is the sole reason, or even a significant factor alone.  
  In terms of modern society, there is a wide number of possible candidate contributing factors to mental illness, from the rise in isolated behaviour, the rise of personal and home pressures and the general processing stresses placed on the modern human brain. Excluding extreme substance abuse, the effects of modern society seem to be a major contributing factor in the rise of mental illness.  
5.31.4 So what next?  
  When your own society is slowly killing you and sending you insane, do you honesty think the leaders of such a society are going to stand up one day and fix things?  
  Such is the curse of the economic success of developed nations who have been managed by “experts” obsessed in economic growth at the expense of quality of living. The net result is “road rage”, “commuter hell”, “permanent smog” and a host of other social illnesses in the way our cities fail to run properly.  
  Rather than admit such policies of economic rationalism were wrong, many experts have become even more emboldened in encouraging massive job outsourcing and the creation of new mass unemployment of service jobs in developed nations to developing nations. In the end, it will not be until revolutionary change expels such people and their theories to oblivion that modern developed societies will have a chance to start to pick up the pieces of any existing quality of life and re-built, consolidate and heal.  
  Until then, our cities continue to be living hell for many. A breeding ground for insanity, managed by insane policies by people who refuse to acknowledge the madness of it all.  
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