February 2, 2023

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Most millennials rely on easy-to-access resources such as WebMD, YouTube, Reddit, etc., looking for self-remedies rather than visiting a qualified physician
If you are a millennial, you must have often heard your parents complaining about how life has changed, and that people were healthier before. Many from that generation also often bat an eye when new-age lifestyle problems and disorders are being discussed. There is no denying that health problems are more prevalent now, affecting millennials adversely. If you think that the cool wellness fads that are available at a click of a button are actually helping millennials remain healthy, think again.
The millennial generation, those who are now in their 20s and 30s, might have a growing obsession with turmeric lattes, fad diets, and holistic wellness centres, but are they healthier? Screens, gadgets, and junk food define this generation of young adults. According to a recent report, health consciousness is on the decline for this generation of millennials. They are likely to be unhealthier in the next ten years. Most millennials rely on easy-to-access resources such as WebMD, YouTube, Reddit, etc., looking for self-remedies rather than visiting a qualified physician. Small symptoms if ignored when they occur can lead to bigger health issues at a later stage.
Some of the most dominant/most common causes of illnesses and lifestyle disorders in millennials:
Stress: According to a recent survey conducted by Cigna TTK Health Insurance Co., 95 per cent of Indian millennials admit to being stressed, which is higher than any other country across the globe. Stress is said to have severe implications one’s health and well-being. Long-term stress can lead to depression, anxiety and/or manifest into other forms of health issues such as acne, headaches, digestive issues or frequent infections. Several millennials consider work as the main source of their stress. A case in point can be seen in the 2021 Olympics when top-ranked gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from some competitive events to focus on her mental health. She epitomized the acceptance of mental health issues and speaking openly about them, often seen among millennials. Several from her generation graced her with an outpouring of support and love. It is true that with the fast pace of societal transformation that this generation has had to deal with, many millennials feel stressed out, sleepless, and left behind. It’s alright to feel that everything is not alright, it’s also ok to talk about it.
Peer pressure: The constant pressure from peers and the monumental burden of expectations that millennials face often have them spiraling. The changes in lifestyle and higher goals have put pressure on young adults to keep performing well. There is groundbreaking competition, and more always needs to be done. Millennials feel the need to constantly move towards something, often not letting them savour times of leisure.
Sleeping and eating habits: As more millennials become first-time parents and as they are more connected and aware of their responsibilities, the transition into parenthood may not be that difficult, but it comes at a certain price. Most millennials survive on only a handful of hours of sleep, and easy-to-cook or ordered food every day due to the pressures of balancing work and family. The invasion of OTT platforms in their lives does nothing to help. The lack of sleep and unhealthy eating habits lead to stress, diabetes, hypertension and obesity. The rise in consumption of smoking and alcohol leads to weight gain and disorders like sleeplessnes.
Tobacco, alcohol and substance abuse: More millennials and more women among them are consuming tobacco, leading to a rise in cases of cancer. A tobacco disorder epidemic plagues millennials, and the effects can be felt for a long time in their lifestyle choices and health. There is a need to curb the consumption of tobacco among millennials.
Also, most millennials are fiercely independent and earning well. Their newfound freedom and financial independence sometimes lead them to stretch the limits of their freedom. Many take up consumption of alcohol on a daily basis, and in excessive quantities that may border on abuse; many also start consuming drugs like marijuana, etc. that can affect their nerves, hearts and, kidneys. Due to this, most millennials suffer from high levels of anxiety.
Excessive travel/migration: As we live in an increasingly globalized world, more millennials are travelling, and migrating to foreign lands for work or to settle down. It is seen that those whose lives revolve around living out of a suitcase, or those who move excessively to change home, experience greater stress. This leads to a higher prevalence of certain maladies such as hypothermia, burns, gastrointestinal issues, heart problems, and hypertension among others.
With the invasion of digitization into our private lives, more and more millennials feel lonely, adding to their feeling of isolation. The generation gap they feel with older adults adds to this sense of not fitting in, causing them to feel anxious and often misunderstood. Most illnesses as we understand today are psychosomatic, beginning in the mind. Therefore, the unhappiness and stress often fully blow up into major health issues at a later stage.
Since most of these health disorders may not be adequately covered by insurance companies, most millennials feel that the healthcare system is not adequately designed to support them, and serve their needs. This leads to the burgeoning of these health-related disorders with no solution in sight. Younger patients want to see a quick change in the system, and are particularly impatient, seeking alternatives that lead to the adoption of fads. Virtual care delivery systems that grew during the pandemic have somewhat eased the pressure on millennials. However, the pressure on millennials’ mental and physical health is a ticking bomb. Those in authority must not waste any time and see how best they can alleviate these problems.
Jani Ahonala
Ivan Misner
Kathy Schenfelt
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