Depression Among the Greats

It may be difficult to believe that someone as accomplished and (let’s face it) as wealthy as Elon Musk could ever suffer from depression. Yet, it seems that depression doesn’t differentiate between class or intellect. In fact, 11% of the population born between 1965 and 1979 (Generation X) are currently being treated for it.

Increased Depression in Middle-Aged American Men

According to a 2015 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey of 173,655 adults, 14% of Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) suffer from depression. And depression has increased among middle-aged American men over the last ten years.

That means, Musk, who is 46, is facing the curve. It’s not uncommon among high achievers. In fact, those who suffer from depression are in good company along with Abraham Lincoln, Vincent Van Gogh and Winston Churchill, to name a few. Often, great “highs” are met with great “lows”.

Studies suggest men are less likely to seek help for depression than women. Therefore, for many men, their depression may never be diagnosed.

“His Crown is also His Cross”

Mark Hamrick, Washington, D.C. bureau chief at personal-finance site Bankrate.com said in regard to Elon Musk,

This is a person who is incredibly motivated and active in ways that few of us can actually imagine. Clearly, given his accomplishments, he’s driven and an intellectual giant along with Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Albert Einstein. This is a case where his crown is also his cross

Unplug to Dispel Anxiety

Those of us who are highly motivated, even driven, may feel the need for a sedative along with our glass of red wine at the end of the day. However, that’s a bad combination and, in fact, quite dangerous. The combination of alcohol and meds is not a good choice for dispelling anxiety. The better choice is to try unplugging instead.

Depression Costs 0.5% of Gross Domestic Product

Approximately $5,524 per person in the work force is lost every year in the US due to depression. That’s 0.5% of the gross domestic product. And, because of absenteeism, depression costs another $390 per person per year.

At every stage of life, the pressure is on and people feel the need to earn more and accomplish more. For many Americans, it was harder to recover from the Great Recession than from the previous downturns. There’s a definite connection between a stressful economy and depression. And the wealthy are not immune to it. Baby Boomers lament,

I went to the right schools, I got the right job, I bought the right things and I’m still not happy.

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