News out of Chicago yesterday reported that almost one-in-five young American adults has a personality disorder that interferes with everyday life, and even more abuse alcohol or drugs.
The study, described as the most extensive of its kind, was based on face-to-face interviews with more than 5,000 19-25 year olds. The disorders include problems such as obsessive or compulsive tendencies and anti-social behavior that can sometimes lead to violence. The study also found that fewer than 25 percent of college-aged Americans with mental problems get treatment.
Counting substance abuse, the study found that nearly half of young people surveyed have some sort of psychiatric condition, including students and non-students.
Personality disorders were the second most common problem behind drug or alcohol abuse as a single category. The disorders include obsessive, anti-social and paranoid behaviors that are not mere quirks but actually interfere with ordinary functioning.
I know I'm not in the age range, but I automatically started counting those around me - one, two, three ... Someone here is on the verge of something!
And that explains a lot! I mean, these one-in-fivers, do these numbers change with age? I'm thinking no, based upon my vast research. In fact, I'm recalling that time of life as a bit more "ahhh" than today's titch more "huh?" I'm thinking the great philosopers Mick Jagger and Keith Richards understood, "What a drag it is getting old." When they penned, "She goes running for the shelter of a mother's little helper, And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day" - those brothers understood that life gets crazy, man!
And for me, perhaps that is the point not mentioned in the research. Growing up, I never once doubted that the adults around me were faultless - that every decision made was wise. It wasn't until I reached the age of this reported study group that I realized that lots of adults were posers, running for the shelter, and hookin up at their own Peyton Places (aging myself, I know!). It was disillusioning, sure, but we weren't yet replicating the insanity.
I think the age of insanity has slid on down - and why wouldn't it? As adults, we haven't protected our young people from the realities of life the way our parents use to. It's hard to do so with 24-hour news and internet and wars and parents losing homes and jobs. Why is it surprising considering the instability of a world that should be rated G or PG but has forcibly been given an R due to adult themes, including intense or persistent violence?
I worry the number of personality disordered would be significantly higher for those of us in the 25 and above age group.
Which would explain a lot.
Read the headlines today - one, two, three ...
Look around - one, two, three..
Is it you or is it me?
"Doctor please, some more of these ... Outside the door, she took four more... Life's just much too hard today, I hear ev'ry mother say... "