How Everyone Became Depressed

The rise and fall of the nervous breakdown

An Alarming Increase in Mental Illness?

The evidence of a supposed increase in depression is based on recall studies, and younger people are more likely to recall recent episodes of depression than are older people, thinking back to when they were in their twenties. So it looks like more depression among the twenty-somethings. Read More


I agree with you and I disagree. I agree that depression is something that can be over-diagnosed. I disagree as that I feel especially within the last ten years in this country, we have been more aware and cognizant of mental illness and those with mental illness. This is because of all of the active shootings (Columbine, Denver movie theater, Navy Yard, and similar incidents). These are all extreme cases where people were deeply troubled. I think everyone should work together in a society that is supportive and more understanding. It is always after a tragedy happens that members of a community said he was weird, she was quiet, etc. Just because you are "weird" or "quiet" does not mean you are prone to violence. I am sure this happens a lot more than we see.

Increasing rates of mental illness

Of course, it's impossible to accurately count actual cases because diagnosis is subjective. However, I think we should be able to agree that diagnosis rates are way up. Just look at what's going on with ADHD and childhood bipolar.

thank you

I agree with the author. Let's not pathologize human unhappiness by making it a diagnosable medical condition. Indeed, mortality, schizophrenia and suicide rates have all declined this century. In fact, in modern times, when adult suicide rates increase, this appears to be linked to economic stress more than "mental illness".

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Edward Shorter, Ph.D., is the Jason A. Hannah Professor in the History of Medicine at the University of Toronto.


Subscribe to How Everyone Became Depressed

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.