Cities are important facets of today’s society. The population density of cities and the cumulative effect that they have on culture, research, and economics has allowed civilization to thrive and progress. However, city living definitely isn’t for everyone. As a matter of fact, a number of reports have shown that living in cities increases the risks that an individual develops mental disorders, such as an anxiety disorder. Here are some of the ways that cities increase this risk, and pose potential problems for high-risk individuals…

Urban environments affect children

In the U.K., a study was conducted on twins by Duke University showed that if one of the twins grew up in the country, and the other in a city environment, that the risk of developing a mental disorder, or some of the symptoms of a mental disorder, were nearly double that of the country twin by the age of 12. According to this study, they found that neighbors in city areas tended to be less personally close to each other, and were less supportive of each other, despite living closer together. In addition to this, the increased rates of crime in an area helped fuel further anxieties.

More people with mental illness live in cities

Historically speaking, individuals who were already at risk for a mental disorder, such as an anxiety disorder, were more likely to move to cities. Partially, this is due to the fact that country communities often lacked the resources to give these individuals the medical help that they needed. Psychologists and therapists who could handle advanced mental disorders were much easier to find in urban environments, where clientele was more plentiful (due to population density). Because of this, people in cities today are genetically more predisposed to be high-risk individuals for mental disorders.

Less natural environments

For high risk individuals, overstimulation can have a triggering effect on an anxiety disorder. Cities provide ripe opportunities for overstimulation, as they are manmade to be filled to the brim with activity. In addition to this stimulation, there is a minimum amount of opportunities for calming experiences. Many studies show that increased exposure to natural environments reduces the effects of anxiety disorders. Cities, by their very nature, have minimal natural environments for patients to utilize.