The mental health crisis in America has killed the American Dream for millions. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - once guaranteed to all citizens - no longer seem attainable for the average American.
Leaders from antiquity knew what the Roman poet Juvenal wrote in roughly the year 200 CE: “Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt.” Today’s bread is McDonald's, and today’s circuses are Twitter and TikTok.
If you’ve ever questioned the motives of the people above who push technology dependence on you and everyone around you, you are far from crazy. Did you know, for instance, that Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg both severely limit their children’s access to the internet? Now ask yourself how Microsoft and Facebook stocks would fare if every parent adopted this practice.
If you need even further evidence that a class of elites are perfectly willing to sacrifice your well-being for profit, look no further than the following facts:
Even so, two universal rules remain true in today’s confusing reality: time is money, and knowledge is power. What the powerful don’t want you to know is that the internet offers just as many positives as it does negatives. While those in charge are making it very difficult to climb the ladder, writing is a timeless skill that can never be fully replaced.
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The youth of America today are hopping on social media, unknowingly lining up to have their still-developing brains rewired. The part of the brain that is most damaged is the prefrontal cortex, which governs decision-making and regulates the way you seek goals. In fact, studies show that high rates of internet and social media usage “decrease gray matter in prefrontal regions associated with maintaining goals in the face of distraction.”
This part of the brain does not fully develop until about 25 years of age, which makes children, teens, and young adults the most at-risk groups. Most experts agree that the rise of social media has been a profound contributor to the United States' mental health crisis. A 2017 study all but confirms this, as it was found that a sharp increase in depressive tendencies among this age group kicked off in 2012, “around the time when smartphones became popular.”
Adolescents, the most insecure demographic out there, are constantly comparing personal highlight reels of their confused lives… an arrangement that leaves people feeling unhappy and with a false impression of what everyday life should look like.
The comfort of the modern world comes with hefty baggage. Temptations are more readily available than ever before, most of which are built to make long-term fulfillment and constructive goal-seeking nearly impossible.
Whether it is big tech oligarchs who push ever-shortening content down our throats, or adult entertainment executives who line their pockets with the eroding ambitions of the horny masses, your best interests aren’t even an afterthought. To have a stable mind in this day and age, you need to consciously recognize this phenomenon.
Your endless consumption is what those people are banking on. Most people who volunteer as guinea pigs for medical experimentation are at least paid for it. In this 21st century attention economy, where time is still gold, you are submitting to a social experiment designed to drain your energy, finances, and ability to focus.
Humans are resilient creatures that operate best when striving toward meaningful goals. It is what makes us an insatiable species. Every time we pervert the human condition with short-term fixes such as drugs, porn, and social media binges, we are choosing an illusion of pleasure to replace the natural path towards fulfillment.
The mental health facts of today are not exactly a source of optimism. As Big Tech lab rats, modern humans, especially those of us who live in America, are fed more fantasies and have more available escapes from reality than ever before. Let’s break down a few of the most common ones that define the US mental health crisis.
Porn accounts for roughly a third of all internet traffic. In fact, research has shown that “porn sites get more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined.” From the beginning of mankind, people have known that sex sells. That is why prostitution is often referred to as “the world’s oldest profession.”
Pornography allows us to have visual-sexual access to an endless display of (often exploited) people, giving us a fleeting satisfaction without human connection or consequence. In other words, porn represents a quick fix to the complex nature of intimacy and relationships, allowing you to avoid potential rejection. The reality is desensitization.
Drugs, likewise, represent a quick fix to the often mundane nature of everyday life. The reality is suffering and addiction. The death count from drug overdoses in the United States reached over 107,000 in 2021, a 15 percent increase from the previous year. Accidental deaths have been on a sharp incline in recent years, in large part due to the rise of fentanyl. This powerful opiate is about 50 times more potent than heroin.
Video games represent a quick fix to acquiring self-esteem and personal friendships. The reality is wasted potential and lost time. Today, the World Health Organization actually recognizes gaming addiction as a credible mental illness. As you might have guessed, children, teenagers, and young adults are most impacted. Studies have shown associations between high rates of playing video games and depression, anxiety, ADHD, and autism. As Recovery Village published, “One study found that 9% of elementary and secondary school students were classified as pathological gamers and were using video games as a coping strategy when already depressed and anxious.”
Gambling represents the possibility of a quick fix to financial trouble. The reality is an empty wallet, as companies that make money this way wouldn’t have a business model unless the algorithm was stacked against you. An estimated 2 million Americans today struggle with gambling addiction.
Emotional eating can bring a flicker of emotional or bodily comfort. The reality that it brings about is poor health and increased insecurity. As the Mayo Clinic writes, “Sometimes the strongest food cravings hit when you're at your weakest point emotionally.” An estimated nine percent of Americans will develop an eating disorder within their lifetime, which amounts to over 30 million people.
Impulse shopping can seem to justify our short-term material desires. As the National Institute of Health writes, “Compulsive buying behavior (CBB), otherwise known as shopping addiction, pathological buying, or compulsive buying disorder, is a mental health condition characterized by the persistent, excessive, impulsive, and uncontrollable purchase of products in spite of severe psychological, social, occupational, and financial consequences.” University students are impulse buyers at higher rates than any other adult group. The reality with impulsive shopping is that you are assigning fulfillment to material non-necessities.
What all of these have in common is that they fix immediate boredom while suppressing your creative ability, planning and organizational skills, attention to detail, stamina to achieve, and so much more.
All of these are cheap substitutes that stunt real-life ambition. Why put in the extra hours of studying, gym time, or other modes of self-improvement when I can get what I want right now? What happens is that a proud future is sacrificed for a false present.
Put simply, the mental health trends of the 21st century are no laughing matter.
We no longer have to contend with the threats, beasts, and many of the same diseases that our ancestors did. Yet, people are seemingly more aimless and worried than ever before, with young people being hit hardest. Drugs are being drunk, snorted, injected and otherwise taken in to provide temporary relief – a reward without experience or hardship. As any honest addict will tell you, though, what goes up must come down. The higher you get artificially, the more painful your future reality will be.
If you are reading this, there is still time to make a change and transform your future experience. There is still time to ensure that a 90-year-old you, on your deathbed, will look back on life with pride... without drowning in regret during your final moments.
Focusing on constructive outlets that foster personal growth is now more difficult, but also more important than ever before. Right now, 43 million Americans (21%) are functionally illiterate. With this in mind, one of the best ways to ensure healthy relationships and a successful career is to improve your writing ability, as this is the clearest form of communication and the purest reflection of thought itself.
Making use of the internet’s positive offerings, like professional writing services and other platforms dedicated to acquiring skills, is something that can and will set you apart. Teams of seasoned professionals like Assignment24 have made it their mission to help you reach your fullest potential.
Not only will Assignment24 help you stay afloat academically or professionally, but our team will also boost your confidence and help you avoid the worsening mental health struggles that have characterized the daily lives of students.
For writers of every skill level, from a preschooler who just learned the alphabet to Stephen King, the first step is always the most difficult and intimidating step.
Taking control of your life has reached an all-time level of difficulty with the endless distractions that are pushed on us in today’s world. But scarcity is value, which means being ambitious and put together is a recipe for victory and satisfaction.
The only question that remains is...
Are you willing to take back the driver’s seat in your life and shut out the external programming meant to keep you numb and dumb, or are you too intimidated by what you could become?