Andrew Extejt

Andrew Extejt

Andrew Extejt

Mrs. Scarola

GSW 1120

Mental Disorders in Millennials Due to Social Media

Recent studies in the world today reveal that the society is continually struggling with the growing number of depression and anxiety cases mainly affecting millennials (Luxmoore 38). Anxiety refers to the escalated levels of worry and nervousness of uncertain situations or the future. Depression, on the other hand, refers to a mood disorder which results in a persistent feeling of lack of interest and sadness (Hill and Curran 157). Millennials are commonly referred to as the individuals born in between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s by researchers and demographers, although research is still underway to establish precise dates for the start and end of this cohort (Jagodzinski 233). What type of actions on social media can lead to anxiety and depression and how can we as a society help stop this?

Millennials also referred to as Generation Y, are experiencing quite high depression, suicidal idealism, and anxiety levels when compared to the generations before them. There have been several proposals for the reasons behind these findings, although none have been classified as purely definitive (Mackay 43). Some studies proposed causes such as the need for perfectionism as well as the internet and smartphones influence (Hill and Curran 160). This study aims at exploring various arguments and views concerning the high levels of anxiety and depression in the American and European continents, as proposed by several reviews and opinions from different authors.

Anxiety was officially documented as a medical condition in the year 1980 by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM). Since its recognition, it has become more rampant in the society and the world at large (Jagodzinski 237). The National Health Survey report, carried out by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, revealed that in 2011-2012, 3.8% of the total population were affected by anxiety while in 2014-2015, 11.2% were affected (Cooper 5).These statistics show that the rate of stress is rising higher and higher in the society with every year. For those individuals born between 19978 and 1999, their life is continuously revolving around sleep deprivation, high social-media related expectations, and technology (Jagodzinski 242).

Hugh Mackay, an author, and social researcher states that “We are a society in the grip of epidemics of anxiety, obesity, and depression – 20 per cent of Australians experience some form of mental illness. It’s already clear that many of us are severely stressed by the struggle to keep up with the rate of change in our lives, and one of the consequences of that stress is anxiety” (Mackay 51) He goes ahead and points out that it is even more difficult for millennials compared to their predecessors. According to Mackay’s research, most adolescents and young adults are offspring of the parental generation which experienced high levels of divorce (Marke and Nyman 29). As a result, there have been high rates of stressed adolescents who are dealing with consequences of family breakdown. More so, if both parents are present, they are continually working which means they are always too busy and tired of having time for their children hence leading to the development of emotional challenges for the millennials (Mackay 59). Secondly, there is the social media issue which has dramatically disrupted the lives of the millennials. Due to the void created by the ever-absent parents and technological advancements, the millennials turned to the social-media platform for consolation and companionship (Berger 85). However, the social media set to be a worse enemy than they expected. The social media connections are expected to socially bring people together in a way that is similar to that of person-to-person encounters. Mackay adds that “The IT revolution has made it easier than ever to stay apart from each other, and that fuels anxiety too” (Mackay 67).

A survey conducted by Deloitte Mobile Consumer revealed that young adults between the age of 18 and 24 check their mobile phones approximately 56-200 times a day. It was also noted that it is quite rare for about 80% of the young people not check their phones for at least an hour after they wake up. More specifically, 18-24 years old check their phones within 5 minutes of waking (Marke and Nyman 55).

Data sourced from the National Institute of Mental Health in 2015 shows that approximately 20% of boys and 30% of girls of age 12-17, a total of 6.3 million teens, have experienced a severe anxiety disorder which has impaired their normal functioning (Hill and Curran 167). A report by the Child Mind Institute in 2015 also revealed that approximately 20% only of mental disorders in young people are reported, diagnosed and treated. The report also shows that conversations carried out by school counselors, clinicians, and parents with teens have brought forth a pervasive sense (Cooper 7). In today’s world, being a teenager can be classified as a full-time job which is continuously draining the teens with loads of activities such as managing social-media identity, fretting about sexism and careers, and doing schoolwork. The millennials then document every slight or fight on the social media platforms for days or hours after the incident which becomes quite exhausting (Luxmoore 89).

Faith-Ann, a victim of the anxiety disorder as well as suicidal idealism, says that “We’re the first generation that cannot escape our problems at all. We’re all like little volcanoes. We’re getting this constant pressure, from our phones, from our relationships, from the way things are today” (Marke and Nyman 78). She is backed up by Steve Schneider, who is a counselor at Sheboygan South High School who says that the situation that the millennials currently find themselves in can be likened to a scab which is being picked continuously yet there is no possible way to detach oneself from it (Mackay 88). This situation makes it more difficult for parents to understand the intensity of emotional damage caused by the life revolving around the small screens on the millennials’ phones (Berger 89).

Research conducted by researchers from the University of California and that of Texas is documented in a CNN special report which found that “there is no firm line between the real and online worlds of the millennials” (Jagodzinski 239). Findings of a new study conducted by the UK researchers revealed that the millennials are affected by high levels of perfectionism which lead to elevated expectations and the outcomes are anxiety and depression disorders. The findings of the research which involved 41, 641 college students were published in the Psychological Bulletin journal (Cooper 9). The journal asserts that the societies and governments of Canada, US, and the UK have been focusing on individual improvement since the 1980s in both the social and economic spheres with a target of achieving the American Dream (Mackay 93). As a result, the citizens of these nations have been working on self-improvement specifically on areas such as career attainment and higher education which gives them a more improved social standing (Luxmoore 90).

Thomas Curran asserts that the results of individual improvement over the years are being exhibited with the millennials. Perfectionism refers to a blend of critical self-evaluations and abnormally high personal standards. The young adults find themselves in a pressurized society which requires them to measure up to a continually growing list of criteria. The millennials strive to attain impossible standards raises the risk of depression, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, and anxiety (Hill and Curran 173).

The study classified perfectionism into self-perfectionism, socially prescribed, and other-oriented perfectionism. The rates of perfectionism increased with the millennials generation due to anxious and overbearing parents, increased competitiveness, and continued attention on individualism. More so, the demands of high education, as well as the need to find a well-paying job, have also shot up, both of which require perfection. The social media platform has contributed significantly to the perfectionism ideology as well (Jagodzinski 240). Millennial peers are portrayed to have perfect bodies while others are described as heroes by achieving noteworthy goals. As a result, insecurity rises which leads to increased competitiveness. As a result, the millennials are faced with mental disorders and social isolation issues. Curran and Hill have resolved that “American, Canadian, and British cultures have become more individualistic, materialistic, and socially antagonistic over this period, with young people now facing more competitive environments, more unrealistic expectations, and more anxious and controlling parents than generations before” (Hill and Curran 174).

This study has successfully explored the various causes of mental disorders, particularly anxiety and depression, which are continually affecting the millennials. Some of the reasons discussed include parental neglect, influenced by the social media, and the perfectionism ideology. Different researchers have explored the topic of individualism in the society which has significantly contributed to the rising rates of depression and anxiety among the millennials. It has been noted that in today’s world, the social media platform is mostly used for bragging rather than for communication, although this study does not intend to demonize the social media platform. It is evident that the society has focused on personal entitlement instead of civic responsibility hence rising competition rather than cooperation. The only good news, as revealed by evidence, is that the millennials realize the issues and urgency surrounding mental health thus making it their priority. They are more willing to discuss the topic openly and even seek medical attention compared to other generations.

Works Cited

Berger, A. A. “Postmodernism and Millennials.” Cultural Perspectives on Millennials, 2017, pp. 85-100, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-69685-0_8.

Cooper, Harris. “Psychological Bulletin.” Psychological Bulletin, vol. 129, no. 1, 2015, pp. 3-9.

Hill, J., and P. Curran. “Millennials Report Higher Rates of Depression, Need Support.” Applied Sociology, vol. 21, no. 2, 2015, pp. 157-174, doi:10.1016/s0143-6228(01)00002-9.

Jagodzinski, J. “Teen Depression and Anxiety: Why the Kids Are Not Alright.” Youth Fantasies, 2017, pp. 233-240, doi:10.1057/9781403980823_15.

Luxmoore, N. Listening to young people in school, youth work, and counselling. J. Kingsley Publishers, 2018.

Mackay, H. “Why millennials are the most anxious generation in history.” The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2018, doi:10.1002/9781405165518.wbeosi043.

Marke, S., and G. E. Nyman. Perception of parental identification, parental dominance, and anxiety in young adults. C.W.K. Gleerup, 2016.

Mortich, A. A. “Millennials and the Media.” Cultural Perspectives on Millennials, 2017, pp. 47-62, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-69685-0_5.