The Most Insidious Health Problems Of The 21st Century and What We Can Do About Them

The Most Insidious Health Problems Of The 21st Century and What We Can Do About Them

Everybody wants to be healthy and well, and we are lucky enough to live in a century where medical treatment for many conditions is very advanced. No longer do we have to worry about diseases like Smallpox, Cholera or Polio. But in their place are other medical issues that are causing significant harm to the population, in the 21st century. Diseases such as addiction, anxiety, and depression. But, even though we don’t have a magic pill for these problems, there are things that we can do to help those suffering. Improving their quality of life and helping them find the strength to overcome their issues. Read on to find out more.


  • What is depression?

Up to 15 million Americans, a year suffer from depression. It affects their motivation to do things and their quality of life. For some, it can get so bad that the no longer wish to carry on and attempt to take their own life by suicide.

Depression is a feeling of low mood, characterized by sleep disturbances, either getting too much or too little. It can also be associated with muscle aches, the lack of pleasure in anything. As well as eating changes, loss of focus, brain fog, and increased emotional reactions.

  • Who suffers from depression?

Depression is not an elitist disease. It can affect anyone, rich or poor. Those with a family and those that are single. But there are some groups that are particularly at risk from this disease.

Gender plays a role, with women overall being more likely to be depressed. As does age with the 40-59 age group having a higher probability of depression. Economic status also contributes,  as those below the poverty line are at least twice as likely to be suffering from depression than those above it.

  • How can it be treated?

There’s a lot of advice out there about treating depressing, but like with any medical issue, your first port of call should be your doctor. They will be able to help you identify the type of depression that you are suffering from and the best course of action to treat it.

In treating depression, medical professionals and counselors often recommend a combination of medications and therapy for treating depressing. The most common form of counseling is CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This is where the patient is shown how to re-frame their negative, though, so they are no so overwhelmed by them. There is a wealth of scientific data to show that this is effective in the treatment of this condition.

There are other treatments available as well, including working with an online counselor, but these should be used in partnership with a medical professional. Thing like exercise and diet change can also have a significant effect on a person’s mood and how they manage their feelings.


  • What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling that we all have from time to time. It is the body and brain’s way of signaling danger to us. But for people that live with chronic anxiety conditions like Panic Disorder and OCD, it can be quite debilitating.

This is because their mind and body are sensitive to triggering off that danger signal, where other people’s wouldn’t. This mean that they spend much of their time in an anxious state, which is not only very unpleasant but also extremely draining as well.

  • Who suffers from anxiety?

Actually, anyone can suffer from anxiety, young or old, educated or not,  man or women. Although it is worth noting that women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder than men are. But this could be that men are less likely to go to the doctor with this sort of concern.

  • How can we treat anxiety?

Treating anxiety is not always easy. Some medical professionals have the view that anxiety is part of a person’s physical and emotional makeup. So it can’t be removed entirely from their character.

Others promote the use of medication to help get the condition under control. Beta blockers, as well as SSRI, are often prescribed for those with anxiety issues. Other medications such as benzodiazepines used to be popular. But doctors are reluctant to prescribe these now, as they are known to be habit forming.

As well as the medication route there are various therapies that can help an anxiety sufferer cope better when anxiety hits. These include CBT, which helps the to reframe the danger signals in their thought as a false alarm.

Or those suffering from anxiety can try exposure therapy. This is where they deliberately expose themselves to the things that make them anxious like spiders or flying. By doing this, they are showing their mind and body who is in charge. They are also demonstrating that there is nothing to actually fear from these issues, by getting through safely to the other side.


  • What is addiction?

Addiction is a dependence on a substance or action that you feel you can’t function without. It can be a mental state, or a physical state or a combination of the two. There are a lot of things that you can be addicted to including food, especially sugar, alcohol, tobacco and actions like gambling.

It is believed that all addictions share a similar chemical effect on the body. In that, they stimulate the body’s dopamine center, which releases pleasure chemicals into the system. That it’s what makes things so addicting. It is that your body is constantly responding with a positive reinforcing action, even if the addiction itself is harmful.

  • Who suffers from addiction?

When we think of addicts, we traditionally think of people that are down on their luck. There may be a grain of truth to that stereotype. As addiction can cause serious economic and social problems. This may cause someone in the throes of addiction may find themselves on hard times.

Men are also more likely than women to suffer from an addiction problem. Also, those that have dependency issues in their family may also be more at risk from developing one themselves.

  • How can we treat addiction?

It can seem that those suffering from addictions are hopeless cases both to themselves and their friends and families. But there are the things that can be done to fight this condition.

There are a wealth of addiction treatments available. They range from programs like Alcoholics or Gamblers Anonymous to medication that can help you people give up smoking. There are even intensive residential treatment centers for people with resistant addiction issues.

Many of the treatments share common goals like dealing with addiction as a chronic issue that never goes away, but that can be resisted and managed. However, some are more focused on the substance or action of addiction. This is often helpful. As there are so many varied things that people can get addicted to, it helps to have a specialized program for each specific problem.

The methods are also divided up into the dangerousness of the substance or problem. For example, there may be hypnosis sessions, group therapy, and medication to help people give up an addictive tobacco habit. But not many residential programs. While they tend to be a lot a lot more residential rehab facilities for people suffering from alcohol and substance abuse.

Sometimes it can be confusing to assess the severity of your own issue, and that is where you need to the advice of a medical professional. Then you will be able to ascertain whether you are at the level where self-help would be beneficial. Or whether you need to progress to some structured counseling, or even a more extreme residential option.   

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