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Year : 2023  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15-20

The Onslaught of Civilization and Emerging Mental Health Issues

Hon Fellow Amer College of Psychiatrists; Department of Psychiatry, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Savita Malhotra
# 425, Sector 37 A, Chandigarh - 160 036
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/wsp.wsp_8_23

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Civilization evolved through 1000 of years as epicenters in several parts of the world and has now become a global civilization. The main pursuits have been for better survival, increased longevity, societal development, peaceful living, and individual development among others. It is also known that the evolution of civilization goes parallel with evolution of brain through continuous processes of adaptation and reorganization of brain functions by gene–environment interactions and epigenetic processes. Thus, civilization has a major impact on brain development and mental health. Current civilization in many ways has come in conflict with the biological objective of survival of the human species. There is value on economic growth and productivity, control and conquering of nature with devastating consequences. Socioeconomic disparities, poverty, inequity in resource distribution and social power, fragmentation of family and communities, individualistic materialistic outlook, lack of psychological anchoring, mindless globalization, climate crisis, and so on are some of the facets that have unleashed a spate of new mental health challenges across the globe. Researches on social determinants of mental illness have shown significant risk factors emanating from one common factor that is civilization. Mental illness is not individually produced and therefore cannot be tackled in silos. It will require whole society's response and systemic approaches beyond the domain of health alone. There is a need to pursue pro-mental health policies at the global societal level to rein in the ever-expanding pool of mentally unwell population.

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