EQ, IQ, Feeling Blue and Working Through
I have some alarmingly bad news to share (take a nice long inhale, followed by a nice exhale, then continue)…
The following are based on the U.S. adult population:
- 3.1% (6.8 million) suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. (Women are twice as likely to be affected as men.)
- 6.7% (14.8 million) suffer from Major Depressive Disorder. (This is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3, the median age at onset is 32.5, and it’s more prevalent in women than in men.)
- 2.7% (6 million) suffer from Panic Disorder. (Women are twice as likely to be affected as men, and there is a very high comorbidity rate with major depression.)
- 6.8% (15 million) suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder. (Equally common among men and women, typically beginning around age 13, and 36% of people with social anxiety disorder report experiencing symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help.)
- 8.7% (19 million) suffer from Specific Phobias. (Women are twice as likely to be affected as men and the median age of onset is 7.)
- 1.0% (2.2 million) suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). (Equally common among men and women, the median age of onset is 19, and about 33% of affected adults first experienced symptoms in childhood.)
- 3.5% (7.7 million) suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). (Women are more likely to be affected than men. Rape is the most likely trigger: 65% of men and 45.9% of women who are raped will develop PTSD, with childhood sexual abuse being a strong predictor of lifetime likelihood for developing PTSD.)
- 1.5% (3.3 million) suffer from Persistent Depressive Disorder. (A “low grade” depression formerly called dysthymia, which continues for at least two years.)
Not so good, huh?! (I warned you!)
But what if most of this was preventable, or, at the very least, more manageable?
How, you ask?
Simple: EQ, otherwise known as Emotional Intelligence.
EQ is simply the ability for a person to recognize and manage their own emotional state, be able to communicate their emotions in effective and appropriate methods, while also recognizing the emotions of others and being able to connect one’s own emotional state with the emotional state of another.
Easy? No. Simple? Yes.
The problem: We live in the Dark Ages of emotions. We’re taught virtually nothing about emotional expression or management in mainstream education, and unless you go way off the beaten path, even in your adult years, you’re not likely to catch much information about EQ.
Most of the above diagnoses, and impact thereof, could be greatly reduced if we were taught some emotional management skill sets in our formative years of education.
Our education system, unfortunately, seems to be obsessed with IQ, FCAT, SAT and ACT scores, all to the detriment (and denial) of EQ.
But wait, it gets even worse (sorry…take a few deep breaths again):
Mental illness (and substance abuse) annually cost employers well over $100 billion per year. And that’s only the cases that are identified!
However, with proper treatment, 65% to 80% of individuals will improve, thereby resulting in lower total medical costs, increased productivity, lower absenteeism, and decreased disability costs.
Just think of the savings we’d make if we acted proactively, instead of reactively.
And proactive prevention, undoubtedly, would also result in less domestic violence, less crime and less substance abuse.
Do yourself a favor and equip yourself by reading about EQ, seeing a therapist or simply by becoming more emotionally aware. And if you’re a parent, please put as much, or more, emphasis on your children’s EQ as their IQ.
And stay tuned to my blog for more about EQ.