Citing a study by Dr. Jens Pruessner of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Quebec, London’s Daily Mail reports that those who are born and raised in urban areas are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and schizophrenia than those brought up in the countryside. Findings include that the risk for anxiety disorders is 21 percent higher for urban dwellers, who also have a 39 percent higher risk for mood disorders and double the incidence for schizophrenia.
MRI scans on 32 healthy volunteers from urban and rural areas seem to show that the brains of those living in cities react differently to stress, showing higher activity in the amygdala, the area of the brain that regulates stress. Researchers say that a larger study will be needed to confirm the results, and that they aren’t sure what the underlying causes might be — although pollution, crowding, traffic congestion and noise are likely suspects.
For many people — myself included — the study simply confirms what we’ve long known empirically: spending day after day in traffic jams, breathing polluted air, and being constantly fearful of assaults on your person or property can’t be good for you.
Many rural areas have jobs that are going begging and telecommuting is an increasingly viable option in many small towns. The stress really is lower, and there are plenty of studies that show lower stress is related to longer healthier lives.
Protect your sanity. Come and join us in the country.